The first batch of 120 Indians will reach Jaisalmer today from Iran. The evacuees will be quarantined at the Army facility, a defence spokesperson said. Another batch of 250 people will be airlifted on March 15 and will be quarantined at the Army facility in Jaisalmer.
"They will be quarantined at an Indian Army facility created under the aegis of Southern Command. The patients will be transferred from the airport post their initial screening to the quarantine facility under escort of civil administration," defence spokesperson Col Sombit Ghosh said.
The Ministry of Defence has set up seven more quarantine facilities for coronavirus patients. These facilities have been set up in Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Kolkata, Chennai, Suratgadh, Jhansi and Deolali.
Spokesperson of Indian Army Col Aman Anand said that there are 265 citizens in two military facilities in Hindon and Manesar. "We are expecting more to be brought back to India in the next 2-3 days," he added.
Speaking at the Lok Sabha on Thursday, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that the initial focus of the government is to bring back Indian pilgrims who are stranded in Iran. He called the coronavirus outbreak a "matter of concern" and said that it needs to be responded to responsibly.
The minister also said that around 6,000 Indians are stranded in Iran, out of which 1,100 are pilgrims from Maharashtra and Jammu and Kashmir. He also said that around 300 students are also stranded.
Iran has been one of the most severely impacted countries in the world. On Thursday, Iran reported 75 new deaths taking the death toll to 429. The health ministry said that they identified 1,075 new confirmed cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, taking the number of infected to 10.075 in the country. For the first time since 1962, Iran requested the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for $5 billion in emergency funding.