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Coronavirus update: India evacuates first batch of 58 Indian citizens from Iran

Government of India has undertaken evacuation operations from several countries in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak to bring back Indian citizens as well as nationals from other countries

twitter-logoJoe C Mathew | March 11, 2020 | Updated 16:52 IST
Coronavirus update: India evacuates first batch of 58 Indian citizens from Iran
India rescues 58 persons from Iran

India has evacuated 58 persons who were stuck in Iran after the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID 19). A group of Indian citizens who arrived from Iran on March 10 include 25 men, 31 women and 2 children. All evacuees are asymptomatic at present, the Health Ministry said. Indian nationals in Iran include pilgrims, students and fishermen. The ministry said that more such evacuation operations would follow.

Immediately after it became clear that Iran was facing a COVID-19 outbreak, the central government had started to undertake measures to bring back Indian citizens to the country. On 7 March, 108 samples were received from Iran. These samples are being tested at the laboratory of AIIMS. Also, six scientists from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) have been stationed in Iran. Equipment and reagents have also been dispatched to enable them to setup a lab.

So far, the government has evacuated 948 passengers from COVID-19 affected countries. Out of these, 900 are Indian citizens and 48 belong to different nationalities including Maldives, Myanmar, Bangladesh, China, USA, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Nepal, South Africa and Peru, the Health Ministry statement said.

Earlier, Air India operated two special flights to evacuate 654 that included 647 Indian citizens from Wuhan in China.

The first batch consisting of 324 Indians were evacuated from Wuhan on 1 February. 104 of these were quarantined for monitoring at ITBP Chhawla camp and the rest 220 were housed in the army facility at Manesar. The second batch of 330 passengers (including 7 Maldivian citizens and two Indian Embassy officials who were on the ground to coordinate the evacuation efforts) arrived in India on 3rd February. Total 300 of these (including 7 Maldivians) were housed at ITBP Chhawla Camp and 30 were shifted to Manesar facility for monitoring.

All of these evacuees were placed in the isolation facilities for 14 days. They were tested twice and were found negative for COVID-19. They were discharged on 18 February, 2020.

On 26 February, Indian Air Force evacuated 112 passengers from Hubei province in China. Among these 76 were Indian citizens. The other nationals evacuated by Indian Air Force  included citizens of Myanmar, Bangladesh, Maldives, China, USA, Madagascar and South Africa. The passengers reached India on 27 February, 2020 and subsequently were housed at ITBP camp for a period of 14 days, as per protocol. They have tested negative for COVID-19 in the first test. The IAF flight had also carried medical supplies which were given as goodwill gesture to China.

In addition, for the case involving the Japanese Cruise Ship, Diamond Princess, on 27 February, Air India flight carried an evacuation operation bringing back 124 passengers including 5 foreign nationals from Sri Lanka, Nepal, South Africa and Peru, from Port of Yokohama in Japan. The evacuees are housed at army facility in Manesar. They have tested negative in the first test.

The revised travel advisory issued by the government of India on 10 March, 2020, says that passengers with travel history to China, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea, Japan, Italy, Thailand, Singapore, Iran, Malaysia, France, Spain and Germany should undergo self-imposed quarantine for a period of 14 days from the date of their arrival, and their employers should facilitate work-from-home for such employees during this period.

There are now 60 positive cases of COVID-19 in the country (including the 3 cases from Kerala discharged earlier). 10 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported since the official update on March 10. Among these, 8 cases are from Kerala, one (1) from Rajasthan and one from Delhi.

Also read: Coronavirus Live Updates: Number rises to 50 as new cases emerge from Bengaluru, Pune, Kerala

Also read: Coronavirus update: India suspends visas to nationals of France, Germany, Spain

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