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Sunday, October 17, 2021

Relief, joy as second batch of Wuhan evacuees leave quarantine

This is the second batch of evacuees to have left the facility after being quarantined. It had 36 foreign nationals from countries including Bangladesh and Maldives, and the remaining were Indian nationals.

Written by Shivam Patel | New Delhi |
Updated: March 14, 2020 5:05:45 am
All 112 people who were quarantined for 14 days at the ITBP camp in Delhi tested negative for Covid-19. Praveen Khanna

Clinging to his mother, Minu, who is about one-and-a-half-years-old, looks annoyed. “The quarantine was difficult for him because he couldn’t play that often outside and had to mostly stay indoors. He is happy to be leaving now,” his mother Ming Liang (32) said.

Minu is the youngest of 112 people who were quarantined for 14 days at the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) camp in Chawla, Delhi after being evacuated from China’s Wuhan on February 27. All have tested negative for the virus in the two tests conducted on the day of their arrival and on the 14th day, officials said.

This is the second batch of evacuees to have left the facility after being quarantined. It had 36 foreign nationals from countries including Bangladesh and Maldives, and the remaining were Indian nationals. Earlier, a batch of 406 people evacuated from China was also quarantined at the facility between February 1-19.

Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai on Friday told the evacuees and staff at the facility that the government was committed to fighting the virus. “The Prime Minister has said that we need to stay careful and not be afraid of coronavirus,” he said. “I request you too that when you return home, you don’t need to be scared either… The Central government is proud of the selfless service given by the doctors and ITBP officials in this mission.”

ITBP Director General Surjeet Singh Deswal said, “This is a situation being faced globally, but with the best efforts and prompt action of the government agencies and all health authorities in the country, the situation is absolutely under control.”

The initial fears at the facility were similar for both the nursing staff and the evacuees, who feared the possibility of catching the infection off each other, they said. A nurse at the camp said, “We had to take nasal swabs from the evacuees and we were anxious for some time until the first tests arrived — anyone would be in such a situation. We were given all safety equipments, including a body suit, but we were still being very cautious.”

The evacuees followed a planned routine and underwent daily checks for body temperatures, blood pressure and symptoms of the infection. The 14 days they spent in dormitories at the facility was a change from the self-imposed isolation in China, and made them feel more like a community.

Monika Sethuraman (31), a PhD student, said, “We have seen more sunlight here, which makes a difference, and so does being with people. It was depressing being within the four walls of your room in Wuhan.”

To pass the time during quarantine, there were indoor games to play, or assignments to work on. Diksha Singh (22), a university student, said she was taking online classes even during quarantine. “The lecture begins at 8.30 am as per the time in China, so here I have to attend it at 5.30am…”

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