Published: 30th January 2020
Medical students from Karnataka staying near corona outbreak epicentre finally set to return
The Department of Health and Family Welfare stated that eight new passengers are under observation for novel Coronavirus as on January 29
With the Novel Coronavirus scare gripping many countries across the globe, eight youths from Karnataka, who were staying at Xuzhou city in China, about 500 km from epicentre Wuhan, are a relieved lot as they are finally set to return. The virus has claimed over a hundred lives in China and spread to several other countries.
The eight youths, studying at the Xuzhou Medical University, have their flight tickets booked for January 31 after days of uncertainty as many flights were cancelled and they faced problems booking tickets too. They will be returning by a Nok Air flight via Bangkok. Speaking to The New Indian Express from Xuzhou, Mysuru resident B S Kishan, who is part of the group, said they were rushing back since there are reports that there will not be any flights to India from February 2.
"Xuzhou city resembles a war zone, streets are empty and no one is getting out. Our university authorities have instructed us not to step out as ten cases were reported in the city itself ," said Kishan. With markets closed for many days, food has become an issue and they are managing with whatever they had stocked, he said. "We have a liason officer who gets us whatever we need, but we are scared to get even vegetables from outside," he added.
According to Kishan, the university allowed them to travel after they signed a letter stating that they are travelling at their own risk. He is returning along with Shashidhar and Akash of Vijayapura, Balangowda of Bagalkot and Snehith of Haveri as well as Aishwarya and Vijay Sai of Kalaburagi and Mahalakshmi who hails from Maharashtra. However, Ruthwik from Bengaluru and Gururaj from Davanagere have chosen to stay back, reportedly due to fear of coming out in public.
According to Dr Prakash Kumar, Deputy Director (communicable diseases), they will be screened thoroughly for symptoms and subjected to thermal scanning at Bengaluru airport upon their arrival.
It is an arduous journey for the group before they can catch the flight back. They will first have to travel to Nanjing, about 300 km away, by train from where they will head to Bangkok with a stopover at Taiwan. They will have to wait for 20 hours at Bangkok before they take another flight to Bengaluru.
Kishan's parents are understandably relieved. "Initially, we were confident that he could stay back. But with the death toll mounting and cities being locked down, my wife insisted that he return," said Krishna Kumar, the father. Kishan is the only son of Krishna Kumar Narakappa, an artist at Rangayana, and lawyer Usha D from Hinkal, Mysuru.
19 people under observation in Bengaluru
The Department of Health and Family Welfare stated that eight new passengers are under observation for novel Coronavirus as on January 29. Totally, there are 19 passengers under observation, of which 11 are isolated at their residence and eight at Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases. A total of 3,669 people have been subjected to thermal scanning at the Kempegowda International Airport since January 20. The two samples that were collected on January 26 had tested negative. There are no confirmed cases in Karnataka as of Wednesday.