In the wake of coronavirus outbreak, Air India will send its special B747 flight from New Delhi to China's Wuhan along with a team of five doctors for the evacuation of Indians, officials confirmed on Friday, January 31.
The 423-seater jumbo plane will reportedly depart from New Delhi at 12:30 pm for Wuhan in China and then return on Saturday morning around 2 am. Air India's jumbo jet B747 will fly along with a team of five doctors to thoroughly examine the Indians stranded in Wuhan before allowing them to board the special flight.
However, official permission from China is yet to come for the Air India aircraft. India is expecting the green signal at the earliest.
International Business Times reported on January 27 that Air India will operate a flight service to Wuhan in China to evacuate Indians stuck in the city due to the deadly coronavirus that has caused worldwide panic.
Another proposed special flight to China is also scheduled on February 1, reports news agency IANS.
WHO declares global health emergency
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the new coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency after the death toll in China increased to 213 on Friday, with 9,692 confirmed in the country's 31 provincial-level regions.
The new virus, which is of the same genre as SARS which broke out in 2003, was first reported in the WHO Disease Outbreak News on January 5, 2020. It has progressively spread across many countries from its epicentre in Wuhan.
In a bid to curb the spread of the virus, Chinese authorities have closed transportation services across many parts of the country, including Wuhan. The virus has spread at a much faster pace than the 2003 SARS epidemic.
First coronavirus case in India
India has reported its first confirmed case of the deadly novel coronavirus in Kerala. The person is a student at Wuhan University in China. The girl is reportedly been stable and is being closely monitored.
In a statement, the Press Information Bureau of India said the student tested positive is from Kerala. "The patient has tested positive for novel coronavirus and is in isolation in the hospital. The patient is stable and is being closely monitored," the statement said.