Sources said the Indian government was working with Chinese authorities to make an assessment about the number of people stranded in Wuhan…writes Aarti Tikoo Singh
India has asked its nationals to submit their passport details to the country’s embassy in Beijing, following reports that many of them were trapped in Wuhan city, the epicentre of the novel coronavirus outbreak, which has been placed under a lockdown.
Over 500 Indian students are studying in colleges and universities in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province. However, a large number of them had left the city just before the outbreak was reported.
Sources said the Indian government was working with Chinese authorities to make an assessment about the number of people stranded in Wuhan.
On social media, the Indian embassy in Beijing noted that some nationals were not in possession of their passports as they submitted them to the Chinese authorities for visa extension, work permit or other reasons.
All the Indian nationals presently in Hubei province and not in personal possession of their passports, have been requested to intimate the embassy with details such as name, passport number, etc.
They have also been asked to inform the embassy about the Chinese authority to whom they submitted their passport, along with the date of submission. The details are to be sent to an official of the embassy at WeChat ID, sondhi_0808, it added.
China on Tuesday confirmed that 106 people have died due to the novel coronavirus and around 5,000 people were diagnosed with the 2019-nCoV related pneumonia.
The National Health Commission said in its daily report that 976 patients remained in critical condition, and 6,973 people were suspected of being infected with the virus as of the end of Monday.
Almost 50,000 people were identified in close contact with the infected patients out of which around 45,000 were under medical observation.
India prepares to evacuate
The Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar in Twitter, said: “We have begun the process to prepare for evacuation of Indian nationals affected by the situation arising out of nCorona-2019 virus outbreak in Hubei Province, China.”
In another tweet, “Our embassy in Beijing is working out the logistics & is in touch with the Chinese government authorities and our nationals on this matter. We will continue to share updates.”