Stating that the government will facilitate the return of Indians stranded abroad on “compelling grounds”, the Ministry of Home Affairs on Monday said the process will start from May 7 in a phased manner.
“The travel would be arranged by aircraft and naval ships. The Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) has been prepared in this regard,” said a statement from the Ministry of Home Affairs. “Indian Embassies and High Commissions are preparing a list of distressed Indian citizens. This facility will be made available on payment basis. Non-scheduled commercial flights would be arranged for air travel. The travel would begin in a phased manner from May 7”, it added.
Government of India to facilitate return of Indian Nationals stranded abroad.
Press Release 👇https://t.co/XPYsKYoiJ9 pic.twitter.com/cBrYUKT6Yl
— Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs (@PIBHomeAffairs) May 4, 2020
The statement further said that the passengers will be medically screened before taking the flight. Only asymptomatic passengers will be allowed to travel. During the journey, all passengers will have to follow protocols, such as the Health protocol, issued by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
On reaching the destination, everyone will have to register on the Aarogya Setu app. After scrutiny, they will be quarantined for 14 days, either in a hospital or in an institutional quarantine on payment-basis, by the state government concerned. Covid-19 tests will be done after 14 days and further action will be taken according to health protocols.
In a presentation shared with states during a meeting chaired by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba on Sunday, the Centre gave state-wise breakups of people wanting to return to India and asked them to ready quarantine and testing facilities for them. In the MEA’s presentation, it was estimated that of the 1 crore people who are currently abroad on an Indian passport, about 1,92,000 in dire need may be brought back in socially-distanced flights, that they themselves pay for, once the states are ready with their protocols. This, provided they have proof of being Covid-19 negative.
Coronavirus lockdown: 2 lakh stranded expats register to return home to Kerala
Kerala has shared a detailed protocol with the Centre for bringing back 3.6 lakh of its estimated 22 lakh people stuck in various countries. However, sources said the Centre feels their criteria for evacuation is too broad-based, and wants to restrict the number to workers with expired visas and such others who have no resources or documents to stay where they are.
As India entered the second extension of lockdown with considerable relaxations in orange and green zones, the total number of Covid-19 cases jumped to 42,835 and toll to 1,389 with 2,553 new infections. In the last 24 hours, a record 1,074 recoveries were reported, taking the total number of cured patients to 11,761 and the recovery rate to 27.52%.