Two Myanmar students evacuated from Wuhan on Indian Air Force plane

The Indian Air Force has evacuated two Myanmar students from the Chinese city of Wuhan after they were declared free of coronavirus.

The pair were unable to join 61 students who flew back to Myanmar early this month because one was ill and another was travelling outside of Wuhan, a Myanmar embassy official in Beijing told Myanmar Now, requesting anonymity.

They joined dozens of mostly Indian nationals on the Air Force flight to New Delhi, which departed around 2am on Thursday morning local time.

“They will be quarantined for 14 days and will be brought to Myanmar,” the official said.

Myanmar was making plans to bring them home when India contacted several embassies with an offer to allow some foreign nationals on the return flight of a plane carrying medical supplies to the city.

The two evacuees had been doing further studies under a Myanmar foreign ministry programme in Wuhan when the city became the epicenter of a global panic around the new flu-like virus that emerged there in late December.

India’s Globemaster plane was carrying 76 Indians, 23 Bangladeshis, and nationals from the Maldives, the US, China, and South Korea, on the flight out of the city, Indian ambassador to China Vikram Misri wrote on Twitter.

The evacuation coincided with a visit to New Delhi by president Win Myint and the first lady Cho Cho. But the evacuation was unrelated to their visit, the embassy official said.  

More than 2,700 people have died in China, while South Korea, Iran and Italy have seen an increasing number of deaths and confirmed cases of coronavirus in recent weeks.

Experts are still unable to confirm how dangerous the new virus is compared to similar diseases, such as seasonal flu, which has a mortality rate of under 1%.

The mortality rate for the new virus in Hubei province, whose capital is Wuhan, is about 2%, and lower elsewhere. But that could change as more data becomes available.

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