The only foreign national lodged at a shelter for the needy in Versova amid the 21-day countrywide lockdown, Mariano Cabrero (68), was set to board a flight to return to Spain on Thursday.
Following the intervention of the Consulate General of Spain in Mumbai, and with the help of the city police, Cabrero was escorted out of the camp at the Civil Defence Ambivali Ground near the Versova Metro station.
“I am very happy to return to my family,” said Cabrero, who hails from Pontevedra, about 600 km from Madrid. “Our consulate, police officers and my friends in the camp were very helpful. I have been in India almost four months but for the last 20 days or so, I have been sleeping on the floor. I am not young. I am 68 years old and need my bed now,” he told The Indian Express.
Cabrero, along with three other Spaniards stranded in India after the country went into a lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19, were set to board flights from Mumbai to European cities connecting them to Spain on Thursday evening.
Cabrero arrived at the camp set up by the Harmony Foundation, to be run by Home Guards and Civil Defence in Versova, after he spent a few days at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai after the country first observed the Janata curfew on March 22.
Consul General of Spain in Mumbai, Jorge de Lucas Cadenas, said: “We are very grateful to the police in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa. This would not have been possible without them. They have been very cooperative, respectful and supportive in this time of crisis. We are also thankful to our European colleagues. We have people in different states of India and today four of them are going back.” He added that on their arrival in Spain, they will have to stay in home quarantine.
Cabrero said that he was well looked after at the camp in Versova and was also thankful to his “new friends” who helped him connect with his family in Spain over the phone. “I will come back to India in 2023, three years from now. I liked it here and I hope to be back,” the retired teacher added.
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