'We're scared,' Indian students stuck in coronavirus-hit Iran request evacuation
As an outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease heightens fears in Iran, Indian students stranded in the country have appealed for evacuation. Reportedly, around 300 students remain stuck in Tehran and Shiraz in Iran, where 43 people have been lost their lives due to the disease. Iran has notably recorded the most fatalities outside of China where the virus originated. Here are more details.
230 students stuck at Tehran University of Medical Sciences alone
According to NDTV, around 70 students from Jammu and Kashmir remain stuck at the Shiraz University of Medical Sciences (SUMS), which has been closed down due to the viral outbreak. Separately, 230 students, also from J&K, are stuck at the Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS) along with other colleges in the capital. India on Thursday suspended all flights from Iran.
'Booked flights got canceled; running out of money'
"I had booked a flight for [Thursday], but it was canceled," a third-year TUMS student, Mujtaba Shaw, told The Week, "I have booked a ticket for March 3 as well as March 5, but these are likely to be canceled too." Shaw added, "Since we are trying to book different permutation combinations to get out, we are now running out of money."
'Airport sealed; don't know what to do'
Another TUMS student, Ume Parvez, told NDTV, "I am stuck here, the airport is sealed. We don't know what to do. We are scared. Please do something for us. We just want a flight that takes us out of Iran."
J&K politicians urge MEA to evacuate students
Several J&K politicians have approached the Ministry of External Affairs to evacuate the stranded students, PTI reported. National Conference MP Justice (retd) Hasnain Masoodi spoke to MEA S Jaishankar and said he was assured that the Centre will not spare any efforts to evacuate those stuck in Iran. Hundreds of fishermen from Gujarat, stuck in Iran's Bandar-e-Chiru, Chiruyeh, Hormozgan provinces, have also requested evacuation.
Coronavirus sickens 600 in Iran; leaves 43 dead
The first case of the novel coronavirus disease—called COVID-19—was reported in the Iranian city of Qom. The virus has since infected 593 people in Iran and killed 43. However, news reports claim authorities are underreporting the death toll. Iran is also notably the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East, as several cases in neighboring countries have been traced back to Iran.
Indians were recently evacuated from China, Japanese cruise ship
Over the past month, India has evacuated hundreds, including students, from China in batches. Over a hundred Indians stuck on a cruise ship, Diamond Princess, quarantined off the Japanese coast were also evacuated. The evacuees have since been quarantined.
Globally, outbreak has infected 87,000
The novel coronavirus outbreak originated from the Chinese city of Wuhan in mid-December. Since then, the fast-spreading virus has reached at least 47 countries around the world. The disease impacts a host's respiratory system and causes flu-like symptoms. Severe cases may result in death. It has caused 2,978 deaths, mostly in mainland China, and also infected almost 87,000 people around the world.