An estimated 80 Indian students are still living in the coronavirus-hit Chinese city of Wuhan, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar told the Rajya Sabha on Friday, adding that 70 of them chose to stay behind at the time of the evacuation operation.
“By our estimate, there are about 80 Indian students who are currently still in Wuhan,” Jaishankar said, adding that a total of 10 among these 80 students had expressed willingness to return to India but could not board the special Air India flight after they failed the screening process at the airport.
The minister said that the Indian Embassy in China is in touch with all the students in Wuhan and the Central government is regularly monitoring their situation.
As many as 640 Indians and 7 Maldivians had returned to New Delhi last week on two special Air India flights from Wuhan — a Chinese city of more than 11 million people, which has been the epicentre of the new strain of coronavirus.
Jaishankar informed that India extended the offer of evacuating people from Wuhan to all its neighbouring countries including Pakistan, but only Maldives chose to take up the offer.
“We were prepared to bring back not only our people but also those from all our neighbourhood who would have liked to. This was an offer which was made to all our neighbours but only seven nationals of Maldives chose to avail the offer,” Jaishankar said.
Coronavirus originated in China in December, last year, and has since then killed 636 people in that country alone, while cases have been registered in several countries across the world, including India.