Amid the escalating crisis in Italy over the late surge in coronavirus infections and deaths, as many as 85 stranded Indian students have sought immediate evacuation. Panicked students from a university in Pavia, which is in the northern Lombardy region, are seeking India's intervention after their flights got cancelled.
At the last count, 34 people infected with Covid-19 have died in Italy. Panic rose in Pavia as 17 of those deaths took place in the university town. The number of new infections is also going up in Italy. According to some reports, more than 1,700 people are infected with coronavirus in Italy.
The 85 Indian students were trying to leave Italy but their flights were cancelled in the wake of rising cases of virus infection in the country. The flights have also become more expensive due to the Covid-19 outbreak and the students say that they can't afford the travel.
Students fear the worst
The students were alarmed after a non-teaching faculty member from the University of Pavia's engineering department tested positive for novel coronavirus. Around 15 staff members from the university are quarantined because of the infection.
The students in Pavia talked to various media outlets and mentioned that they were in a state of panic because the stores were running out of stocks and they fear that the worst days are coming.
Several other Indians stranded during the coronavirus outbreak
Apart from the students stranded in Italy, several Indians have been stuck in Iran owing to the coronavirus outbreak. A minister from the southern Indian state of Kerala requested the External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to direct the embassy officials to take necessary steps to evacuate the Indians from the region.
Several leaders from various states across India are urging the central government to take immediate action. Indian envoy to Iran said that steps are being taken to bring back the Indians from Iran safely. India issued a travel advisory on February 26 asking its citizens to avoid non-essential travels to Iran.
There are several citizens from India in other countries like the UK and Australia where infections have been reported. The overall tally of the Covid-19 infections in the UK is 35 as of Sunday, March 1.
Concerns about the spread in India and Iran
According to a Dailymail article, US spies have been assessing the risk of the virus spread in various countries of the world. The sources told the media outlet that there are concerns with regard to how India and Iran would cope with the possible outbreak. The US is concerned that Tehran is covering up details about the actual numbers related to Covid-19 infections and deaths.
The evacuation of students from Italy could also raise concerns about a possible spread of the disease in India. The US is concerned about developing countries' ability to face such an outbreak.