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Indians stranded in Wuhan discuss evacuation, worry about vegetable shortage and ease tensions via memes: Report

The Indian embassy in Beijing has said that it is closely monitoring the evolving situation and has gained assurance from relevant Chinese authorities for providing assistance to the residents in Wuhan

January 27, 2020 / 04:11 PM IST
Representative image

Representative image

Amid reports of the death toll in the deadly coronavirus rising to 80 in China, the country has put Wuhan city, among other regions, under a lockdown. Among others impacted by this lockdown are Indians staying in the region.

Srikanth, who is a scientist, has been confined inside his house for the past five days in what he calls an "hour arrest", according to a report by The Indian Express.

The report suggests that Srikanth has stored 4 kg potatoes, 2.5 kg onions, 1 kg carrots, rice, instant noodles and surgical masks since the Chinese government enforced transport restrictions in the city.

Initial discussions about the virus started in late December 2019.

"By January 7 or 8, when the outbreak was officially announced, I started taking extra precautions and sent across instructions to Chinese and Indian friends living in Hubei on how to be protected," Srikanth, who works with a pharmaceutical company in Wuhan, told the newspaper via WeChat.

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"But nobody expected that it would spread this much," he said.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had earlier said that the Indian embassy and Consulates General in China are working with Chinese authorities to try and facilitate Indian citizens caught up in these "difficult circumstances".

"There is a WeChat group set up by the Indian Embassy, where many people are expressing panic over the situation," a member of the group told the newspaper.

"Evacuation plans are being discussed after informal news that countries such as the US, France and Iran are making arrangements for their citizens," he said, adding that arrangement for private buses to move people out of Wuhan is also being discussed.

The Indian embassy in Beijing has said that it is closely monitoring the evolving situation and has gained assurance from relevant Chinese authorities for providing assistance to the residents in Wuhan.

Even as Indians in the region wait for some kind of help, there are everyday problems to deal with. A resident from Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh working for a vaccine company in Wuhan told the newspaper about the long queues for vegetables as they go out of stock.

"I went to the supermarket, only to find long queues and vegetables completely out of stock. The next day, my Chinese friends warned me against going out. The situation is not good, only two state-owned supermarkets are open, and these are quite far," he said, adding that if they get sick, "neither the Chinese government will want us nor the Indian government".

"We don’t want to suffer here. I want to go home, even if I am kept under observation there, I’d like to be in India rather than here," a student from Karnataka, studying at Tongji Medical University, said. Another student, who is from Haryana and is studying at Jianghan University, told the newspaper that the students are "under a lockdown in our dormitory rooms".

"We have no schedule, our sleep is filled with tension, and we keep browsing the internet or discussing ways to get out of here and go home. Our parents keep calling us for updates too," he added.

However, there are internet memes to ease their tension. According to the report, on a WeChat group called "Indians in Wuhan", participants have been sharing memes, which include a video of a man shouting from his rooftop to a deserted Wuhan: "Arey koi hain kya? (Is anybody there?)".
Moneycontrol News
first published: Jan 27, 2020 04:11 pm

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