Indian foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar on Thursday said that New Delhi was awaiting the green signal from the Chinese government to send the consignment across. “We are ready to despatch the relief package," he said.
India was sending the medical supplies, in keeping with its aim of being the first responder in any crisis afflicting its neighbours, Kumar said.
Earlier this week, the Indian embassy in Beijing said many Indians in Hubei province, the epicentre of the novel coronavirus outbreak, had been in touch with the embassy to facilitate their return to India. Estimates said over 100 Indians were still in Wuhan, including some who had previously decided to stay back.
The C-17 Globemaster is the largest military aircraft in the Indian Air Force. The plane can carry large combat equipment, troops and humanitarian aid across long distances in all weather conditions.
India’s national carrier Air India has already evacuated 646 Indians from Wuhan in two separate flights earlier this month. Seven Maldivians were also evacuated by Air India.
According to Kumar, some people belonging to countries in India’s immediate neighbourhood had also requested the Indian embassy to facilitate their evacuation from Hubei. The Indian aircraft would try and accommodate them, depending on capacity, he said.
According to the US based Johns Hopkins University’s live tracker of the disease, at least 75,752 people have been infected by the virus since its outbreak was reported in December with the death toll in China and other countries breaching the 2,100 mark on Thursday. The total death toll was 2,130 according to the Johns Hopkins.
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