|China praises PM Modi's letter to Xi Jinping on coronavirus assistance|
BEIJING: China on Monday appreciated Prime Minister Narendra Modi's letter to President Xi Jinping offering solidarity and assistance to deal with the deadly coronavirus outbreak, saying it "fully demonstrated" New Delhi's friendship with Beijing.
In a letter to Xi, Modi expressed solidarity with the president and people of China over the outbreak of the virus that has claimed over 900 lives in the neighbouring country.
"We thank and appreciate India's support for China's fight against the NCP Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia, the official name for coronavirus," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.
"India's acts of goodwill fully demonstrate its friendship with China," Geng said during an online media briefing while replying to a question on Modi's letter to Xi.
Prime Minister Modi also offered India's assistance to China to face the challenge, besides conveying condolences over the loss of lives due to the outbreak.
The prime minister also conveyed to Xi his appreciation for facilitating evacuation of around 650 Indian citizens from the worst-affected Hubei province last week.
A sizeable number of countries have evacuated their citizens from China and restricted movement of people and goods to and from China.
India too has put restrictions on the movement of people to and from China as part of precautionary measures to contain the spread of the virus.
"We stand ready to work with India and other members of the international community to jointly tackle fight the epidemic and safeguard regional and global public health security," Geng said.
Indian Ambassador to China Vikram Misri told the Indian media here on Monday that India was in touch with Chinese officials to find out the immediate requirements to deal with the epidemic.
The death toll in China's coronavirus outbreak has gone up to 908 with 97 new fatalities reported mostly in the worst-affected Hubei province and the confirmed cases of infection crossing 40,000, Chinese health officials said on Monday.
A team of international experts led by the World Health Organisation (WHO) would arrive in China on Monday night to assist the Chinese health officials to contain the spread of coronavirus outbreak.
"I've just been at the airport seeing off members of an advance team for the @WHO-led 2019nCoV international expert mission to China, led by Dr Bruce Aylward, veteran of past public health emergencies," WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a tweet.