A doctor from Guwahati, Assam, who is working on cancer cells along with her husband in Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan in China, has been evacuated safely by the Indian government in wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Dr Manisha Das (31) along with other evacuees is staying at the quarantine facility set up by the Indian Army in Manesar near Delhi. A total of 654 Indians have been evacuated in two batches by Air India flights from Wuhan where the outbreak of deadly coronavirus has killed over 427 people.
In an exclusive chat with Time8, Dr Das said, “Since it’s Chinese New Year time and winter vacation, so everything is closed since January 20th, 2020. Usually, most of the shops open after a few days but due to coronavirus outbreak, everything is still closed. Public transportation has also been suspended making it difficult for people to move out. Due to holidays, many people had stocked food and water and are surviving on it.”
The young doctor also hailed the dedication of the Indian Embassy in China towards its people stuck in the virus affected Wuhan.
“The Indian Embassy has kept the track record of all the students and opened helplines for emergencies. I have received several calls from Delhi and Beijing regarding the current situation. The Chinese authorities are concerned about their own people as the hotline they have opened is not helpful for foreigners. They speak only in Chinese. They have put up notices in all the residential buildings regarding emergency help but that’s too in Chinese.”
Dr Das also shared several photographs of the “deserted roads and deadly silence” in Wuhan – the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak. The doctor said she has seen such “deserted roads” only in “Zombie movies”.
She informed that as most of the people went out of the country for holidays due to Chinese New Year, most of the residential buildings were “empty or with few people”.
The evacuees from virus-hit China have been housed at ITBP Chawla Camp and Indian Army’s Manesar facility. People will be monitored for signs of any infection for two weeks by qualified medical professionals. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare also said anyone with travel history to China since January 15th, 2020 could be quarantined.
The Government of Kerala has declared the coronavirus outbreak as a “state calamity”. This comes after three persons from the state tested positive for the lethal disease. All the three patients have travel history from Wuhan in China.
The novel coronavirus infection first broke out in Wuhan and as of February 4th, 2020, it has spread to 25 countries. The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus as a public health emergency of international concern. There is no specific cure or vaccine.
As per several reports, the virus is said to have originated in December 2019 in a food market in Wuhan that was illegally selling wildlife. Experts believe the lethal virus may have first originated in bats and then passed to humans via another animal species.
To combat the spread of the deadly virus, India has temporarily suspended e-Visa facility for Chinese passport holders. e-Visa already issued to Chinese nationals is also not valid temporarily and the facility for submitting the application online for the physical visa from China is suspended.
The Airport Authority of India with the help of the state governments has set up screening and testing counters in the airports of the country including Northeast. A total of 593 flights have been screened covering a total of 72353 passengers as of February 3rd, 2020.
Dr Das appealed all not to lose hope in these times of crisis. She suggested enjoying life and be happy in the moment. “Where does Life takes you, you never know…So enjoy every moment, be Kind, be Happy and Love all,” she wrote on Facebook.
She also shared a poem by Lee Tzu Phengm Singapore Cultural Medallion winner. In the poem, Lee urges readers to enjoy life “before it’s too late and it’s time to go”.