2 Indians on China-bound VBM flight found to be asymptomatic Covid-19 patients
The August 6 Air India flight was part of New Delhi’s Vande Bharat Mission flights meant to repatriate Indians stranded abroad; it flew in those Indians who wanted to return to China for work, and had the requisite permissions from the Chinese government.Updated: Aug 11, 2020 12:58 IST
Two Indians who flew into the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou on a special Air India flight on August 6 have been quarantined after they were found to be asymptomatic patients of Covid-19, Chinese health authorities have said.
The diagnosis of the disease on an in-bound flight from India could lead Beijing to again stop Indians from flying to China during the inward journey of special repatriation flights.
The August 6 Air India flight was part of New Delhi’s Vande Bharat Mission (VBM) flights meant to repatriate Indians stranded abroad; it flew in those Indians who wanted to return to China for work, and had the requisite permissions from the Chinese government.
China did not allow several Indians, including families of diplomats, from taking an earlier VBM flight from New Delhi to Guangzhou city in end-June because two Indians had tested positive for Covid-19 on a Shanghai-bound special flight that landed on June 21.
After the two Indians were diagnosed with Covid-19 in June, Chinese authorities gave permission only for an empty flight from India to land in the southern city of Guangzhou to repatriate Indians.
Beijing only agreed to allow Indians on the August 6 flight after intense negotiations with Indian diplomats and putting in place strict health protocols – including three medical tests – for in-bound passengers from India.
According to the local Chinese health commission, the two Indians found to be asymptomatic – infected but without symptoms – were a 40-year-old woman and a 55-year-old man.
The diagnosis was done following tests at the Guangzhou airport under the “closed-loop management” system.
Both Indians were sent for “isolation treatment” at a designated Guangzhou hospital, the statement from the health authorities said.
Despite new clusters of Covid-19 breaking out in the cities of Beijing, Urumqi and Dalian since June, China has seemingly brought the coronavirus outbreak under control within the country.
A number of “imported” cases of the disease are, however, being diagnosed daily, mostly among Chinese nationals returning from abroad.
Chinese health authority said Tuesday that it received reports of 44 new confirmed Covid-19 cases on the Chinese mainland Monday, including 31 imported cases and 13 locally transmitted ones.
By the end of Monday, a total of 2,200 imported cases had been reported on the mainland.
Of them, according to official news agency, Xinhua, 2,046 had been discharged from hospitals after recovery, and 154 remained hospitalised, with one in serious condition. No deaths from the imported cases had been reported.
As of Monday, the overall confirmed Covid-19 cases on the mainland had reached 84,712, including 794 patients who were still being treated, with 44 in severe conditions.
Altogether 79,284 people had been discharged after recovery, and 4,634 had died of the disease on the mainland, the national health commission (NHC) said.