India in touch with coronavirus-hit Iran to evacuate its nationals
The Indian government is following up with Iran to tie-up evacuation of Indian pilgrims and students stranded in Tehran and Qom as per need.
India is in touch with Iran on possible evacuation of Indian pilgrims and students stuck in the coronavirus-hit nation, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Thursday.
The killer coronavirus has so far claimed more than 3,200 lives, the vast majority in mainland China. There are now nearly 95,000 global cases, with infections in over 75 countries and territories.
Making a statement on the situation after cases of coronavirus surfaced, Vardhan said a total of 29 people in India have tested positive, including three initial cases in Kerala who have since recuperated and discharged.
New cases include one in Delhi with a travel history of Italy and another in Telengana, who came in contact with a Singapore national in Dubai. Six persons, who came in contact with the person infected with the virus in Delhi, have tested positive, he said, detailing steps taken by the government to contain its spread.
"The government is taking all necessary measures to prevent spread of COVID-19 in India," he said.
The government has carried out two evacuation missions, bringing back a total of 767 from China. All of them have been kept in quarantine and have so far tested negative for the virus, he said.
The Minister said the government is following up with Iran to tie-up evacuation of Indian pilgrims and students stranded in Tehran and Qom as per need.
External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Thursday said that an Indian medical team will reach Iran during the day and the authorities here are working on the logistics with their Iranian counterparts for the return of the Indians stranded there.
Jaishankar said the Indian medical team was likely to set up its first clinic at Qom by the evening to start screening for coronavirus.
Update for Indians stranded in #Iran and for their families: Our medical team for screening arrives in Iran today. Hope to establish first clinic at Qom by this evening. Screening process will start immediately thereafter. Working on logistics of return with Iranian authorities.— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) March 5, 2020
Group of Ministers constantly monitoring progress. Understand the concern of families.— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) March 5, 2020
Iran is struggling to contain the virus, with a rising number of cases and deaths each day. As of Wednesday evening, the death toll in the country stood at 92 with 2,922 infections. Friday prayers in all provincial capitals have been halted.
"This disease is a widespread one," Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told his Cabinet, according to a transcript. "It encompasses almost all of our provinces and is, in a sense, a global disease that many countries in the world have become infected with, and we must work together to tackle this problem as quickly as possible."