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Coronavirus outbreak: Six Indians in China stopped from boarding special flight to India due to high fever

BEIJING: Six Indians stranded at the coronavirus-hit Wuhan city were stopped from boarding the first special Air India flight to India due to high fever, officials said on Saturday.

The first flight left early Saturday with 324 stranded Indians mostly students from Wuhan.

Officials here told PTI that six Indians could not board the flight as they were stopped by the Chinese immigration officials after they tested for high temperature.

The six students may have to undergo tests to determine whether they have symptoms of the coronavirus.

Ahead of the evacuation, the Indian Embassy had informed the Indians that they will be tested before the flight and undergo 14-day quarantine after reaching India.

The special Air India plane carrying 211 students, 110 working professionals and three minors from Wuhan reached Delhi around 7.30 am on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the second Air India flight has arrived here to pick up the rest of the Indians from Hubei province of which Wuhan is the provincial capital.

On Saturday, Chinese health authorities announced that the death toll has risen to 259 with total confirmed cases increasing to 11,791, the biggest increase since China began reporting the spread of the virulent virus on January 21.

China’s National Health Commission said in its daily report on Saturday that 1,795 patients remained in critical condition, and 17,988 people were suspected of being infected with the virus as of the end of Friday.

A total of 243 people have been discharged from hospital after recovery.

Friday saw 2,102 new confirmed cases, 5,019 new suspected cases, and 46 deaths.

So far, about 124 positive cases have been reported in a host of countries, including India where the first case was confirmed in Kerala.

Earlier in the day, the Indian Embassy said in a tweet that “an Air India flight carrying 324 Indian nationals from the coronavirus hit Hubei Province of China took off from Wuhan in the early hours of Feb 1.

Majority of the passengers were Indian students.

We sincerely thank the Chinese government for facilitating this flight”.

“We look forward to operating another flight to evacuate remaining Indian nationals, who have consented to leave Hubei Province for the time being.

“We urge all Indian citizens from Hubei who intend to avail this flight for India and not yet contacted the Embassy, to urgently call the hotlines (+8618610952903 and +8618612083629) or dedicated email ID helpdesk.beijing@mea.gov.in before 0800 hours on February 1, 2020,” the embassy said.

The schedule of the second flight has not been announced yet.

Officials said the Indian Army has set up a quarantine facility in Manesar near Delhi to keep those evacuated from China’s Hubei province.

They would be monitored for any signs of infection for a duration of two weeks by a qualified team of doctors and staff members.