Amid the rising novel Coronavirus scare, Indian Ambassador to Italy and San Marino Reenat Sandhu on Friday stated that the Government of India's efforts to rescue Indian nationals stranded in Italy has been a 'huge relief.' Speaking to Republic Media Network's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, Ambassador Sandhu informed that the Indian medical team had reached Italy on Friday and has been collecting samples adding that the evacuation process is a huge relief especially to the Indian students who have been stranded. She also said that the evacuation process would be followed by a mandatory 14-day quarantine period.
Following China, Italy is one of the seriously Coronavirus-affected countries. As per Worldometer's count, 15,113 total number of positive coronavirus cases have been reported in Italy. The total number of deaths due to the virus in the country is now 1,016. The novel Coronavirus which is said to have originated from Wuhan has so far claimed 3,177 lives in China itself.
Highlighting the situation in Italy, Ambassador Reenat Sandhu on Friday said, "The situation is extremely difficult at the moment because there has been a significant increase in the number of Coronavirus cases crossing 15,000 yesterday. The Italian government has put in place a number of measures, including placing the entire country in quarantine and closing all commercial activities. Actually there is a lot of anxiety among the Indian nationals here including the Indian students. Our effort here has been throughout the past 3-4 weeks, since this outbreak in Italy, to remain connected with the Indian community and ensure their safety and well being."
Furthermore, she added, "Now the requirement at the Indian end is that all the people coming back are safe and they have to be tested before they depart for India. So we have got the medical team today, they have already started testing and collecting samples. They will be taking these test samples back to India and will be tested there. Once they are found negative, they can go back and will, of course, have to go through the mandatory 14-day quarantine. But it is a huge relief for the Indian nationals here (Italy). Especially the students who have been struggling because their universities have closed, so huge sigh of relief and thanks to all the government agencies that we have been working with."
WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic as the pathogen rapidly spread to more than 121,000 people from Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North America. Speaking to reporters in Geneva, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned of a further rise in the number of cases, the number of deaths and the number of affected countries. The last a pandemic was declared was in 2009, during the H1N1 swine flu outbreak.