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Covid-19 India evacuation Highlights: Expats disappointed as flight from Doha to Kerala capital is cancelled

Coronavirus (Covid-19) | India Evacuation Highlights: INS Jalashwa, carrying as many as 700 Indian nationals from the Maldives as part of the Operation Samudra Setu of the Indian Navy, arrived at the Kochi Port on Sunday.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: May 11, 2020 9:58:31 am
Covid-19 India evacuation LIVE updates: Expats disappointed as flight from Doha to Kerala capital is cancelled All the 181 passengers, including 15 pregnant women and children,had already reached the Doha airport by 11 am to take the flight as they were directed. (Representational Image/ Twitter/@HCI_London)

As many as 180 Keralites at Doha airport faced disppointment on Sunday morning as the Air Indi Express repatriation flight got cancelled.  The flight, which was had left from the Karipu Airport in Kozhikode to airlift the passengers from Doha an bring them to Thuruvananthapuram, had not been given landing permission from the Interior Ministry of Qatar following which it has bee cancelled, Thiruvananthapuram District Collector Gopalakrishnan said.

Meanwhile, INS Magar on Sunday arrived at Male coast to bring nearly 200 stranded Indian nationals home from Maldives amid the coronavirus pandemic. At present, the embarkation procedure is underway aboard INS Magar and the ship is expected to reach Kochi on May 12. The ship will evacuate nearly 200 citizens while ensuring all precautions, including social distancing norms, are followed, the Navy stated.

Follow coronavirus India LIVE updates here

Through the Vande Bharat Mission, India will send 64 flights and three Navy ships to repatriate Indians stranded abroad due to the coronavirus pandemic. Nearly 15,000 Indians are expected to return home over the next week.

Live Blog

India evacuation LIVE updates: Several Indians from the UK landed in Mumbai early on Sunday; INS Jalashwa arrives at Kochi Port; US begins repatriation of Indians. Follow Vande Bharat Mission latest news in Malayalam here

23:06 (IST)10 May 2020
Air India flight with 177 passengers from Kuala Lumpur Kochi flight lands at Kochi

Air India Express IX 683 Kuala Lumpur-Kochi flight landed in Kochi at 10.17 pm on Sunday with 177 passengers and two infants. (Photos: Air India Express handout)

21:29 (IST)10 May 2020
See pics: Arrangements on board INS Magar

21:17 (IST)10 May 2020
INS Magar sails for Koch from Male, includes two pregnant women

INS Magar sails for Koch from Male. The evacuated people include 202 Indian nationals on board. This is the second repatriation mission by Navy.and is carrying 176 males, rest are women and children. The ship includes two pregnant women as well. 

19:23 (IST)10 May 2020
Expats disappointed as flight from Doha to Kerala capital is cancelled

For 180 odd Keralites wh reached Doha airport on Sunday morning eager to return home i turned out to be a disappointing day with the Air Indi Express repatriation flight being cancelled and rescheduled a permission for landing in the Qatar capital was not given. The flight, which was to have left from the Karipu Airport in Kozhikode to airlift the passengers from Doha an bring them here,had not been given landing permission fro the Interior Ministry of Qatar following which it has bee cancelled, Thiruvananthapuram District Collector Gopalakrishnan said.

"It has been re-scheduled for Tuesday. We are in regula contact with the Indian embassy," he told reporters here. All the 181 passengers, including 15 pregnant women an children,had already reached the Doha airport by 11 am t take the flight as they were directed. Accordingto a Revathy, a passenger, who was booked o the cancelled flight, said it was disappointing that after th long wait they could not take the flight. Only after relatives of some passengers from Keral called them and enquired, Doha airport officials told the that the flight had been cancelled,she told a televisio channel. India has started the repatriation of its citizen stranded in various countries, especially expatriates fro Kerala in Gulf nations, since Friday and around 1,500 peopl have already arrived in the state by air and sea route.

In anticipation of the arrival of the flight, the airpor and district authoritieshere conducted thirdmock drill o Sunday morningand completed all preparations to receive th passengers from Qatar, returning home after being strande there due to the coronavirus lockdown. The collector said they had not received details, as o now, on why the landing permissionhad not been received. The flight was to have left from Kozhikode airport aroun 1.30 pm to Doha and reach the state capital at 10.45 pm. (PTI)

18:49 (IST)10 May 2020
Navy's INS Kesari sets sail on COVID aid mission to Indian Ocean countries
INS Kesari in the Indian Ocean. (Source: Creative Commons)

In line with its role as a key player and first responder in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), India on Sunday dispatched Navy's amphibious vessel INS Kesari on a COVID aid mission to various Indian Ocean countries with medical, food items and medical assistance teams. The effort is names Mission Sagar.  The effort which has been named Mission Sagar line with India’s role as the not only the key player but also a first responder in the region. Ministry of Defence officials said the mission has been undertaken responding to the requests from these countries for assistance in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.

INS Kesari is primarily an amphibious warfare ship of Shardul-class ships of the Indian Navy and has been used in versatile roles in the past including search and relief operations.  The Ship would enter the Port of Male in Republic of Maldives, where it will deliver 600 tons of food provisions. It will also deliver COVID related essential medicines to Mauritius, Madagascar, Comoros and Seychelles. The Medical aid teams will operate in Mauritius and Comoros to assist the their governments in the fight against COVID and also Dengue Fever in Comoros.

A press statement from Ministry of Defence said that Mission Sagar 'is in consonance with the Prime Minister's vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region SAGAR and highlights the importance accorded by India to relations with her neighbouring countries and further strengthens the existing bond.' The statement added, 'The operation is being progressed in close coordination with the Ministries of Defence and External Affairs, and other agencies of the Government of India.'

18:09 (IST)10 May 2020
WATCH: Embarkation of person with leg fracture aboard INS Magar in Male

Operation Samudra Setu —  INS Magar will set sail from Male with 200 returnees today and is expected to reach Kochi on May 12.

15:46 (IST)10 May 2020
INS Magar arrives at Male to evacuate citizens

INS Magar, the second ship of the Indian Navy’s Operation Samudra Setu, to evacuate stranded Indian Nationals from Maldives and ensure smooth and safe passage back to India, arrived at Male Port Sunday. 

The ship will evacuate about 200 citizens while ensuring all precautions related to COVID-19 including social distancing norms are followed. An entirely separate section of the ship with essential facilities like food and washrooms has been prepared to accommodate the evacuees and a separate mess has been allotted for ladies, infants and senior citizens. Additional precautions have been taken by dividing the evacuees into groups to avoid crowding at common areas like dining hall, bathrooms etc.

Concurrently, the first ship carrying evacuees from Maldives, INS Jalashwa reached Kochi harbour this morning with 698 Indian citizens.

14:46 (IST)10 May 2020
Vande Bharat Mission: Indians in Uzbekistan prepare to return home

Indians stranded in Tashkent are also boarding special flights to return home.

14:23 (IST)10 May 2020
Five Air India pilots test positive for coronavirus

Meanwhile, five pilots of Air India tested positive for coronavirus, airline sources told news agency PTI. Air India, which is operating flights to evacuate Indians stranded in foreign countries, have asked its pilots to undertake coronavirus test before they operate such flights, the sources said. "Five Air India pilots have tested positive for coronavirus. These pilots were tested one after one. We suspect it could be a case of faulty testing kit as well," one of the sources told the news agency.

13:58 (IST)10 May 2020
COVID-19: Air India schedules 7 commercial flights to repatriate nationals from the US

Some of the Indian nationals stranded in the US due to COVID-19 related international travel restrictions will fly back home on Sunday on a non-scheduled commercial flight from New Jersey to Mumbai and Ahmedabad, even as authorities said another five flights have been arranged to repatriate others still stuck in the country.

Beginning May 9, Air India has scheduled seven non-scheduled commercial flights from the US to India facilitating the return of Indian nationals, who could not travel due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Indian Embassy in Washington had said in its advisory on Wednesday night. The first flight took off from San Francisco on Saturday to Mumbai and Hyderabad.

The Air India flight from Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey will fly on Sunday, taking back Indian nationals to Mumbai and Ahmedabad under India's biggest ever repatriation exercise named ‘Vande Bharat Mission'. Another flight from Newark will fly on May 14 to Delhi and Hyderabad. All passengers will be required to undergo medical screening before boarding the flight and only asymptomatic passengers will be allowed to travel. (PTI)

13:12 (IST)10 May 2020
US to begin repatriating Indians today

The first batch of Indians from the US will also leave for Mumbai and Hyderabad today.

13:09 (IST)10 May 2020
Air India flight carries Indians from London to Bengaluru

A flight from London departed for Bengaluru earlier this morning.

13:07 (IST)10 May 2020
Another flight from Kuala Lumpur to Kochi today

Another flight from Kuala Lumpur is also scheduled to take off for Kochi today.

13:02 (IST)10 May 2020
Several Indians to return to Chennai from Kuwait

Several Indians, who are stranded in Kuwait, are also ready to board the flight to Chennai.


12:57 (IST)10 May 2020
Kochi airport: Passengers undergo screening for Covid-19

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Passengers who arrived from Maldives proceed for screening at Kochi port on Sunday. 

12:26 (IST)10 May 2020
Air India crew on 'Vande Bharat Mission' can return to Noida from Delhi after Covid-19 test

Meanwhile, Air India crew members, who reside in Noida and are involved in flight operations to evacuate Indian citizens stuck abroad due to lockdown, can return home from Delhi only after their Covid-19 test results are found negative, officials said on Saturday. The Gautam Buddh Nagar police had requested the management of the national carrier to accommodate its crew members that reside in Noida and Greater Noida in Delhi for the duration of the Centre's 'Vande Bharat Mission'. The request was made because Gautam Buddh Nagar in western Uttar Pradesh falls in the 'Red Zone' and the to and fro movement of the flight crew could increase the risk of Covid-19 infection, the officials said.

12:05 (IST)10 May 2020
Passengers to maintain social distance inside airports

A spokesperson at the Mumbai airport also said that distinct markings had been laid out throughout the airport to ensure that passengers maintained a minimum distance of two metres. “The airport has set up 30 immigration counters for undertaking the necessary procedures and ensuring quickest clearance of the arriving passengers,” the spokesperson said. Upon arrival, the passengers will also be required to download the central government’s Arogya Setu app before proceeding to quarantine. A small number of Forex and Sim card outlets have been made operational at the airport for this purpose.

11:42 (IST)10 May 2020
Passengers displaying Covid-19 symptoms to be isolated

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) set up by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare dictate that the arriving passengers wear gloves and face masks throughout their journey. At the airport, two dedicated aerobridges have been identified for these flights, while the Airport Hospital Organisation has set up infrastructure to screen passengers before they proceed towards immigration. Passengers displaying symptoms of Covid-19 will be isolated and shifted to a separate area earmarked for the purpose, the spokesperson said, adding that airport ambulances were placed on standby to shift such passengers to designated isolation centres.

11:06 (IST)10 May 2020
More Indians to arrive at Mumbai from Manila today

At least 241 Indian citizens are also scheduled to arrive at the Mumbi airport from Manila, Philippines, at 11 pm.

10:47 (IST)10 May 2020
Watch: Kochi port prepares to welcome Indians from Maldives

Here is a look at the arrangements at the Kochi airport to deal with passengers who have arrived from Malaysia.


The government will operate 64 flights between May 7 to 13 to bring home nearly 14,800 Indian nationals stranded abroad due to the coronavirus lockdown.

India’s repatriation exercise began on Thursday, with two flights landing in Kerala. An Air India flight from Abu Dhabi landed at Cochin International Airport at around 10 pm, half an hour before another landed at Kozhikode airport from Dubai. Together, there they brought home over 400 passengers.

On Thursday, passengers who landed in Kochi and Kozhikode came home to an unusual welcome. Instead of crowds of relatives thronging the arrivals gate, they were greeted by officials and health workers who stood in PPE gear in the disinfected terminal.

In one of the largest evacuation exercises named “Vande Bharat Mission“, the government will operate 64 flights between May 7 to 13 to bring home nearly 14,800 Indian nationals stranded abroad due to the coronavirus lockdown.

India will send 10 flights to the UAE, seven flights each to the US and the UK, five flights to Saudi Arabia, five to Singapore and two to Qatar to repatriate Indian nationals, Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said.

During this period, India will also send seven flights each to Malaysia and Bangladesh, five flights each to Kuwait and Philippines, two flights each to Oman and Bahrain, Puri added.

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