Amid fears over coronavirus, a Chinese national Friday “vomited” on an Air India flight from New Delhi to Pune, delaying the airline’s operations on that route. Air India spokesperson Dhananjay Kumar said the “unwell” passenger was later de-boarded and admitted to a local hospital. His samples have been sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune for testing.
The aircraft, which was scheduled to return to New Delhi, was delayed by over four hours after passengers and the flight crew raised concern due to the novel virus, which spreads through human-to-human transmission.
According to health department officials at Naidu Hospital in Pune, the Chinese traveller is under observation. “We are looking at his travel history and samples have been sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) for tests,” said the official.
Meanwhile, an official from the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which manages security of Indian airports, said, “The flight from Pune to Delhi was delayed due to rumoured vomiting in the flight by a Chinese passenger raising concerns and panic over coronavirus. The passenger was deboarded and has been admitted to Naidu Hospital in Pune.”
The Air India flight AI852 finally departed for New Delhi at 12.11 pm. It was scheduled to leave at 7.40 am.
According to news agency PTI, the aircraft was sanitized before takeoff.
Coronavirus outbreak: Follow LIVE updates here
In the wake of coronavirus outbreak, dozens of airlines across the globe have suspended operations to China.
In India, three confirmed cases of coronavirus have been reported in Kerala. People who returned from China are being quarantined at hospitals in New Delhi, Pune, Hyderabad and Mumbai among other cities. The epidemic has claimed 638 lives and has infected at least 31,000 people across the globe.
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