IAF’s Wuhan evacuation flight delayed as coronavirus death toll surges past 2,000

The Indian Air Force (IAF) evacuation flight to extract the remaining Indian citizens from coronavirus epicentre Wuhan has been delayed, it has been announced as mainland China reported 114 new deaths overnight, taking the death toll from the outbreak to 2,118 until Wednesday night.

The flight of the IAF aircraft, which was to bring medical supplies for China to aid its fight against the covid-19 outbreak, and then evacuate Indians from Wuhan has been delayed due to “technical reasons”.

On Thursday, Chinese health officials said the mainland reported the “biggest drop in new novel coronavirus infections in almost a month”, with 394 new confirmed cases.

The total number of confirmed infections is 74,576, health officials announced Thursday morning.

The worst-hit central Chinese province of Hubei reported 349 new cases of novel coronavirus pneumonia on Feb 19, with 108 new deaths and 1,209 cases of recovery.

“The total number of infections in the province climbed to 62,031, with 10,337 recovered and 2,029 dead,” officials said.

Meanwhile, for the 90-odd Indians who had registered for the third round of evacuation arranged by New Delhi, the wait to be pulled out just got longer.

The Indian embassy in Beijing has circulated a message among the group, informing them about the delay because of “technical reasons”.

The IAF was expected to dispatch one of its largest transport aircraft, Boeing’s C17 aircraft, to Wuhan with medical supplies.

On its way back, the flight will take back Indians who remain in Wuhan, a city of around 11 million under a total lockdown to contain the spread of the virus.

“As we continue to work on the logistics of the evacuation, we would like to inform you that due to technical reasons, the date of the flight is being changed. The new date and further instructions regarding pick up and movement to Wuhan airport will be communicated in due course,” the message to the Indians said.

“All are requested to be prepared for departure at short notice,” the message added.

In Hubei, and its capital, Wuhan, the fight against the outbreak continues as authorities scramble to arrange for more beds and deploy medics.

“China has gone all out to treat COVID-19 patients both with mild symptoms and in severe conditions alike in the epicenter city of Wuhan as the number of hospital beds reserved for COVID-19 patients has risen to about 40,000 and the supporting medical personnel over 30,000,” official news agency, Xinhua said in a report early Thursday.

“Currently, more than 30,000 medical personnel, including military medics, have been sent to Wuhan from across the country with specialties in a number of disciplines, including respiratory infections, heart and kidneys. Wuhan now has 11,000 intensive care medical staff, accounting for 10 percent of the nation’s total,” the report added.

Source : Hindustan Times

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