Air India's Jumbo B747 plane departed from the Wuhan airport in the early hours of Saturday to reach Delhi, rescuing 324 Indian nationals from China, as the country continues to battle against the outbreak of novel Coronavirus.
"With 324 passengers, the special flight has taken off for India from Wuhan. It may reach Delhi at 7.30 am," said an Air India spokesperson at on Saturday.
Along with the Indian nationals, five doctors from Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital and one paramedical staff were on board, the Air India spokesperson added.
The flight had departed from Delhi airport at 1.17 pm on Friday to rescue Indian nationals from China, where more than 200 people lost their lives due to the novel Coronavirus.
Another special flight may take off from Delhi airport on Saturday to rescue more Indians from Wuhan, the Air India spokesperson on Friday evening.
Speaking of Friday's flight, the spokesperson said the special aircraft will carry a team of five doctors, one paramedical staff from Air India, with prescribed medicines, masks, overcoats, and packed food. A team of engineers, security personnel will also be present onboard.
Air India Chairman and Managing Director Ashwani Lohani had said that the place will not provide services, and the meals will be kept in seat pockets for passengers. This is to avoid interaction between the cabin crew and the passengers.
Air India has carried out rescue operations in the past also, carrying passengers from countries such as Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Kuwait and Nepal.
The death toll in China's novel coronavirus outbreak on Friday climbed to 213 with the number of confirmed cases totalling to 9,692. The Hubei province alone. reported 5,806 confirmed cases, including 204 deaths.
Ahead of the airlifting of nearly 300 Indian students from Wuhan, China, the Indian Army sprung in action to create an emergency quarantine facility near Manesar. The Indian nationals that will be arriving from Wuhan will be monitored for a duration of two weeks by a team of doctors to watch for any signs and symptoms of the novel disease.
As per the information released by the Indian Army, the procedure of screening and quarantine will comprise two steps, the first one being screening at airport followed by quarantine at Manesar and if any individual is suspected to be infected, he/she will be shifted to the isolation ward at Base Hospital Delhi Cantonment (BHDC). The Screening at the airport will be done by a joint team of Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) and Airport Health Authority (APHO).
(Inputs from PTI)
(Image credits: Air India)