Beijing: Indian and Pakistani students in China's Hubei province, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, have made desperate pleas to their governments to evacuate them after Chinese officials decided to convert their university gymnasiums and dormitories into makeshift hospitals amid a big surge in infection cases.
The death toll from the epidemic surged to 1,367 with 254 deaths on Wednesday, highest in a day, raising concerns that the virus is nowhere near slowing down.
There were 52,526 confirmed cases on the Chinese mainland at the end of Wednesday. On Wednesday, Wuhan and Hubei province itself reported 14,840 new confirmed cases to local health officials said.
This big increase in cases has put pressure on local officials to add more hospital beds.
Three Indian students studying at Hubei University of Chinese Medicine made desperate pleas to the Indian government to evacuate them after the university announced plans to convert the gym into a hospital.
India has already evacuated 647 Indian nationals mostly students from Wuhan and Hubei. Ten Indians could not board the two special flights due to fever. Indian officials say around 80 to 100 Indians are still left in the area.
"Our university is going to use the gymnasium as the shelter to receive the confirmed cases," the university said in a notice.
The university earlier was not on the list but now an official notification has been issued to include it, the notice said.
"Now we need to cooperate. For whole Wuhan, it's a 'war' period. Hope everyone can understand...We will try our best to ensure your basic needs. Special Period, special way.Do not go out!" it said.
"Do take precautions!" the university notification said.
China has already built two make-shift hospitals with 2,300 beds and converted auditorium and stadiums into hospitals. With surging cases, university dormitories and gymnasiums are being converted into hospitals.
About 1,000 Pakistani students are currently in Hubei province. The Pakistan government came under heavy criticism for not evacuating them. A number of Pakistani students too have complained that the dormitories are being converted into hospitals with virus patients.
Pakistani daily Dawn reported Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday directing the Foreign Office to take every possible step to help Pakistani students stuck in novel coronavirus (NCV)-hit Wuhan city of China.
Pakistani students of a Chinese medical university are fearful as patients infected with the deadly virus have been shifted to a building located near their university.
Pakistan has contacted the Chinese authorities with the request to shift those patients somewhere else, the report said.