58 evacuated from Iran, housed in isolation at Hindon airbase medical facility; remain asymptomatic

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Published on Mar 11, 2020 11:30 PM IST
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ByHT Correspondent, Ghaziabad

Two days after 58 persons were airlifted from Iran, the third worst-hit country by the novel coronavirus, all evacuees remained asymptomatic, officials of the Indian Air Force (IAF) said Wednesday. The swab samples of the evacuees, who were airlifted in a C-17 Globemaster heavylift aircraft, have been taken and sent for testing.

IAF officials said their medical staff is engaged in caring for the evacuees at a quarantine facility within the airbase.

“We have been tasked with caring for the evacuees who have been housed at a special facility. So far, this facility is 58-bedded and is only meant to cater to the evacuees. Special medical teams are taking care of them. They will be kept in isolation for 14 days. Their swab samples have been taken and sent for testing,” said an IAF officer at the Hindon airbase.

Ghaziabad chief medical officer Dr NK Gupta said, “So far, the IAF Hindon airbase authorities have not sought our intervention and taking care of the persons (pilgrims) brought back from Iran. However, we have assured them every help in case they feel the need and seek our intervention.”

The Ghaziabad district health department officials said that they have also come up with 10-bed Coronavirus isolation ward at MMG Hosptial and a similar facility has come up at Sanjay Nagar Combined District Hospital for admitting Swine Flu positive patients.

“We have only one patient so far who has been tested positive for Covid-19 infection. He is under treatment at Delhi and recovering. Apart from the Covid-19 positive patient we also have three patients who are under home isolation after tested positive for Swine Flu,” Dr Gupta added.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in a statement said the first batch of evacuees from Iran, where 237 people have died of Coronavirus so far, arrived March 10 with 25 men, 31 women and two children on board the C-17 Globemaster— largest military aircraft in the IAF’s inventory. The aircraft, which took off from the Hindon airbase on Monday evening and returned Tuesday morning, also brought swab samples of 529 Indians to carry out laboratory tests and check whether they have the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, which the World Health Organisation (WHO) has named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV2).

“The IAF aircraft has landed. Mission completed. On to the next,” External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had tweeted on Tuesday. In Iran, close to 300 people have died due to the virus and over 8,000 people are affected. In Italy, the country with the most fatalities after China, infections topped 10,000. India and Iran have both begun operations to evacuate citizens stranded in each other’s territories and have pledged full cooperation in this regard. India is trying to set up a laboratory in Iran to test all Indians for the coronavirus to expedite their exit and in the meanwhile, their samples are being sent to India in batches for testing onboard special Mahan Air flights, an Iranian career.

Tuesday’s evacuation was the second such exercise by the C-17s in the last fortnight. Earlier on February 26, 76 Indians and 36 foreign nationals were evacuated from China’s Wuhan city—the epicenter of the Covid-19 outbreak that has, so far, affected 60 people in India as against over 116,000 infections globally; 4,000 people have lost their lives the world over.

So far, India has evacuated 948 passengers from countries affected by Covid-19. Out of these, 900 are Indian citizens and 48 are from Bangaldesh, China, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Nepal, USA, South Africa, Maldives, Peru and Madagascar.

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