New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has lauded the efforts of the Air India crew and medical team which evacuated Indians from the coronavirus-hit China’s Wuhan city, saying the rescue operation has reassured the Indian diaspora across the world that the entire nation will stand by them in times of crisis.
A total of 68 AI crew members, six doctors and four nursing officers from Delhi’s Safdarjung and RML hospitals, who were part of two special flights that evacuated 647 Indians and seven Maldivians from Wuhan, were on Monday handed over letters of appreciation signed by the Prime Minister. Commending the “life-saving efforts” of the team, the prime minister said the “grit, determination and compassion displayed by the rescue team only goes to prove that the true test of character lies in adversity”. “Strength during adversity gets expression in the collective effort of Air India personnel and the medical team from Safdarjung and Ram Manohar Lohia Hospitals,” he said.
China is grappling to contain the deadly coronavirus as the death toll climbed to 1,770 on Monday after 105 more people died, mostly in the worst-hit Hubei province. “In such a scenario, the evacuation of Indian citizens in distress has not only given relief to those rescued but has also reassured the Indian diaspora settled across the globe that in time of crisis, the entire nation stands firmly united. Your indefatigable effort inspires every citizen to serve the nation with dedication and commitment,” the PM’s letter to the crew and the medical team read.
Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri handed over the letters of appreciation to each crew member at a ceremony here, while Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan gave the letters to the team of doctors and nursing officers at Nirman Bhawan in the national capital. Vardhan congratulated each and every member of the two teams which had gone to Wuhan as part of the evacuation mission on February 1 and 2. “For a medical professional, it’s just not a duty but a responsibility to help our fellow citizens in times of distress and this has been displayed very gracefully by our team,” he said. Vardhan also met the Indians evacuated from Wuhan at an ITBP quarantine facility here, as the first batch of nearly 200 of them left for their respective homes. They have all tested negative for the COVID19 or (Coronavirus disease 2019) and will be going back to their homes in phases, he said.
The centre housed a total of 406 people, including seven Maldivians, who were evacuated from Wuhan in an Air India flight. The remaining evacuees were housed at quarantine camp set by the Army in Manesar. Vardhan also informed that as on date 3,21,375 passengers from 2,996 flights and 6,387 passengers from 125 ships have been screened for suspected infection. India has so far reported three confirmed cases of the virus, all in Kerala. Two of the three medical students who had tested positive for novel coronavirus infection have now been discharged, Vardhan said. The condition of the third one is stable, he said.