Coronavirus has taken the lives of over a 100 Chinese so far and over 2,000 in the vast Asian country have been infected by it. Around 700 Indian students, including Keralites, are studying at the universities in and around Wuhan, the city in China which is deemed the epicentre of the disease outbreak. Several Indian students are reportedly stranded in various cities across China amid the shutdown ordered to contain the spread of the virus that leads to respiratory infections.
India's External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said that the country's embassy in Beijing was taking all measures to ensure the safety of the Indians in China.
Several Malayali officers, working from the Indian Embassy in Beijing, are actively involved in coordinating the efforts to ensure the safety of stranded students. The Malayali associations in the communist country are also constantly in touch with the Embassy.
Palakkad native R Madhu Sudan, Deputy Secretary (Foreign Secretary's Office) at the Ministry of External Affairs, is coordinating the efforts from Delhi. An Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer of the 2007 batch, Madhu Sudan is a Chinese language expert. He had earlier worked at the Beijing embassy. He was the translator during the talks held between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Thiruvananthapuram native Acquino Vimal, a 2000-batch IFS officer, is the deputy chief at the Indian Embassy in Beijing. Deepak Padmakumar, a 2014-batch IFS officer, has been handling the media wing of the embassy there. Originally from Palakkad in Kerala, Deepak's family is currently residing in Bengaluru. He is also a relative of Shashi Tharoor, MP.
J Athul, B Sidharth, Neethu Rajan are the other Malayali officers in the embassy. T P Narayanan, who is an attache at the office of ambassador, is also a Keralite.