From a 72-year-old man to a pregnant woman and an infant, 406 people who were evacuated from China shared a common roof for two weeks at the Indo Tibetan Border Police facility in Outer Delhi’s Chhawla. Hailing from different parts of the country, and placed under quarantine away from their families, they became each other’s support system.
On Monday, all of them were given certificates saying they had tested negative for coronavirus. While 358 people have left for their homes, the remaining 48 are expected to leave by Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.
Recalling his experience at the facility, Mukul Kumar (24), who reached his home in East Delhi’s Mayur Vihar Phase 1 on Monday night, said: “We used to gather in the common area for medical check-ups and dinner… It was the best time to interact with each other. I learned so many other languages. It was all together a different experience.” A second-year student of medicine at Hubei University, Kumar will be attending virtual classes till the situation improves in China.
Attending to the varied food requirements of the people, the team posted at the facility said efforts were made to give them a homely feel.
“All of them were scared on the first day. After initial test reports, which turned out to be negative, they were more relaxed. We had people from Kerala, Maharashtra, Bihar, Delhi, Jammu & Kashmir and even from Maldives. We made sure all of them get their choice of food. The woman who was pregnant was given an ample diet and doctors regularly checked up on her. The infant was provided a diet full of milk and the oldest member of the facility was provided food as per his need. We all lived like a family,” said Dr Harvinder Singh, who was posted at the facility.
Dr Singh said he has been receiving messages from those who have left. “Everyone is healthy, this is what we were hoping for. It’s the biggest reward for us,” he said, while checking the final list of people who are set to leave.
A group of students from Kerala, who left Monday night, said the facility turned out to be a common meeting place for Indian students who never met in China despite living there for years.
“We were worried about how we will be airlifted to India. We sent an email to the Indian Embassy and authorities were quick to arrange facilities. In this facility, we have met so many people who have been living in China for so long… We have exchanged numbers and will stay in touch now,” said Rubik Roy, a student.
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