China on Friday denied any delay in allowing a special Indian flight to the Coronavirus-hit Wuhan city to deliver medical supplies and evacuate remaining Indians from there, saying the concerned departments of both the countries were in touch to finalise the schedule.
India on February 17 had announced that it will send Indian Air Force’s largest plane C-17 Globemaster with medical supplies to Wuhan and bring back its nationals as well as citizens from all neighbouring countries who were still stuck there on the return flight.
The special flight to Wuhan is reportedly awaiting clearance from China.
Meanwhile, the Indian Embassy in China has informed the stuck citizens that due to technical reasons, the date of the flight is being changed.
As we continue to work on the logistics of the evacuation, we would like to inform you that due to technical reasons, the date of the flight is being changed,” Indian Mission in China told the citizens in Wuhan.
The mission said, “The new date, further instructions regarding pickup, movement to Wuhan airport will be communicated in due course.”
India has already evacuated 647 Indians and seven Maldivians by operating two Special Air India flights to Wuhan earlier this month.
Asked why there is a delay in granting permission to the third Indian flight, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told an online press briefing on Friday that China has assisted India earlier to evacuate a large number of Indians from Wuhan and Hubei province.
“The competent departments on the two sides are still in communication on the arrangement for the remaining 80 people that India plans to fly home. There is no such a thing as China delaying giving flight permissions,” he said.
Geng said the Chinese government attaches high importance to the lives and health of all foreign nationals in China.
Meanwhile, the death toll in the novel Coronavirus in China has risen to 2,236 with 118 more casualties reported, mostly from the hard-hit Hubei province, while the overall confirmed infection cases have climbed to 75,465, Chinese health officials said on Friday.