Government to bring back Indian citizens stranded abroad in phases from May 7
All passengers will be medically screened before departure and only asymptomatic persons will be allowed to board flights and continue their journey.
The Indian government announced on May 4, 2020 that it will bring back all the Indian citizens stranded abroad in phases, starting from May 7, 2020. Many Indians who had gone abroad due to work or other reasons got stuck after nationwide lockdowns were announced across the world to combat COVID-19.
The decision brings huge relief to the Indian citizens stranded abroad, as it opens the way for them to come back home in the wake of the deadly coronavirus pandemic. The government would be facilitating their evacuation in a phased manner.
The citizens will be brought back using aircraft and naval ships, starting from May 7.
• The stranded Indians will be brought back home using aircraft and naval ships. The facility will; be made available on a paid basis. The centre has created a standard operating procedure for the same.
• The Indian Embassies and High Commissions have been tasked with creating lists of distressed citizens in various countries
• The government will arrange non-scheduled commercial flights for air travel. The evacuation is expected to start on May 7. As per sources, Indian citizens will first be evacuated from the United Arab Emirates.
• The Ministries of External Affairs and Civil Aviation will soon share detailed information about the evacuation process on their websites.
Key Protocols to be followed
• All passengers will be medically screened before departure and only asymptomatic persons will be allowed to board flights and continue their journey.
• Once they land in India, the citizens will go through another round of medical screening that will be followed by a 14-day quarantine period. They will also be required to download the Arogya Setu app.
• The quarantining facility will also be payment-based and the state governments will be responsible for setting up the facilities. The passengers who start showing symptoms of the virus will be tested for coronavirus infection after 14 days and further actions will be taken in line with the health ministry’s protocols related to the crisis.
• The centre has requested the state government to make arrangements for the arrival of the evacuees, their testing, quarantine and their onward movement in their respective states.
Many Indian citizens are stranded in foreign countries due to the suspension of air travel in the wake of coronavirus pandemic. Many senior officials are also stuck abroad including Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora, who is stuck in the United States.
India had suspended all international flights starting from March 23. On March 24, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day lockdown to combat COVID-19 outbreak. The lockdown was later extended till May 3 and then again till May 17. While Lockdown 3.0 comes with the easing of many restrictions, public transport and air travel, including both domestic and foreign, continue to remain suspended
Besides this national effort to bring back the Indian citizens, many state governments have also been individually making arrangements to bring back their people from foreign nations.