New Delhi, Feb 13 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi has issued a letter of appreciation to the team members of the Wuhan evacuation operation. According to the Prime Minister's Office, this letter would be handed over by the Minister of State for Civil Aviation.

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi has appreciated the high level commitment to duty showcased by the officials of Air India and Ministry of Health who conducted evacuation operation of the stranded Indians in Wuhan," the PMO said in a statement.

Air India had conducted an emergency evacuation operations which consisted of two flights to China's Wuhan city, which is the epicentre of the widely spreading Novel Coronavirus flu.

"Despite being aware of the aforementioned severe situation in the region, the Air India sent two B-747 aircraft with teams of Air India as well as teams from Ministry of Health for two consecutive days, 'i.e. 31st January 2020 and on 1stFebruary 2020, returning the next day'," the statement said.

The two flight operation enabled India to evacuate around 650 of its people who were stranded in Wuhan.

The government also evacuated seven Maldivians.

The special flights were operated using a double decker jumbo 747 with 15 cabin crew and five cockpit crew.

Besides, the crew, the flight also ferried a team of five doctors from the Ram Manohar Lohia hospital and one paramedical staff from Air India.

The new virus, which is of the same genre as SARS which broke out in 2003 but has spread at a much faster rate, was first reported in the WHO Disease Outbreak news on January 5. It has progressively spread across many countries from its epicentre.

In a bid to curb the spread of the virus, Chinese authorities have closed transportation services across many parts of the country, including Wuhan, the hub of transport and industry in central China.

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