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India evacuation LIVE UPDATES: First two flights from UAE land in Kerala; another leaves for Singapore

Evacuation operation of Indians stranded abroad, Coronavirus (Covid-19) Live Updates: The first flight from Abu Dhabi landed in Kochi. The second flight from Dubai touched down in Kozhikode shortly afterwards.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: May 8, 2020 6:18:07 am
coornavirus, covid 19, covid 19 news, india mega evacuation, vande bharat mission, Evacuation operation of Indians, airlift of indians, coronavirus, coronavirus live, indian evacuation, cochin airport, indians stuck abroad, india coronavirus, coronavirus india news, latest news, india news, covid 19 news Vande Bharat Mission: A pregnant woman with her child at the Kochi airport after being repatriated from Abu Dhabi in a special flight Thursday (Source: PR Dept, Gov of Kerala)

Two Air India repatriation flight carrying a total of 363 Indian nationals from the UAE landed in Kochi and Kozhikode Thursday. The flights are part of India’s biggest-ever repatriation exercise to bring back its citizens stranded abroad amidst the international travel lockdown over the coronavirus pandemic.

The first flight from Abu Dhabi landed in Kochi a little after 10 pm as part of the government’s Vande Bharat mission to bring back its citizens stranded abroad. The second flight from Dubai touched down in Kozhikode just after 10.30 pm. Captain Anshul Sheoran of IX 419 AbuDhabi Kochi flight welcomed passengers with the message “welcome aboard. We are going home”. Meanwhile, Indian Navy’s INS Jalashwa, also reached the Maldives to bring back stranded Indian citizens.

Also read | How well is Kerala prepared to receive its expatriates?

Nearly 15,000 Indians stranded overseas are expected to return on special Air India flights from 12 countries over a week, starting Thursday. The government will operate 64 flights until May 13 and use three Navy ships, as part of Phase I of an evacuation plan, named “Vande Bharat Mission”. Of the 64 flights, 15 would be to Kerala, 11 each to Delhi and Tamil Nadu, seven each to Maharashtra and Telangana, and the rest to Gujarat, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, and Uttar Pradesh. (Follow coronavirus LIVE updates )

Live Blog

India is set to airlift thousand of its citizens stranded abroad under its “Vande Bharat Mission”. Today, two flights landed from UAE in Kerala's Cochin and Calicut airports. Follow LIVE updates in Malayalam 

05:32 (IST)08 May 2020
Navy to charge Indian nationals it evacuates

The government will for the first time charge Indian nationals who are being evacuated by Indian Navy ships. Earlier evacuation operations by the Navy were not charged to the passengers. The Indian High Commission in Male told the stranded Indians on Thursday that they will have to pay $40 — about Rs 3,028 — as “evacuation services charge” for repatriation by INS Jalashwa on Friday. In February-March 2011, during the Arab spring, when an operation to evacuate 16,400 Indians was carried out from Libya, Indian Navy ships INS Jalashwa, INS Mysore and INS Aditya were pressed into service, but no payment was charged from the evacuees. Subhajit Roy reports

02:48 (IST)08 May 2020
BJP hails exercise to evacuate Indians stranded abroad as 'historic'

The BJP on Thursday hailed as "historic" the Vande Bharat Mission, India's biggest ever exercise to bring back its citizens stranded abroad, with party president J P Nadda saying that it underlines Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "compassion and exceptional leadership".

"As India commences the historic #VandeBharatMission to bring back Indians from across the globe, I congratulate PM Narendra Modi for his compassion and exceptional leadership at this very crucial juncture," Nadda tweeted. He added, "I also welcome our sisters and brothers back to India, and wish them good health. I also appeal to them to extend full cooperation, follow the rules of personal distancing, hygiene and support local authorities in the fight against coronavirus." (PTI)

01:08 (IST)08 May 2020
BMC arranges 3343 rooms in 88 hotels to quarantine people returning from abroad

The BMC has arranged 3343 rooms in 88 hotels to quarantine people returning from various countries, in the coming few days. 14800 people are to be brought back to India on 64 special flights starting 7th May. Out of these, 7 flights are to come to Mumbai with 1900 passengers

00:45 (IST)08 May 2020
First flight to Singapore departed from Delhi

Air India’s first flight to Singapore departed from Delhi at around 11:20 PM today, with one passenger, to bring back stranded Indians from abroad under the Vande Bharat Mission.

00:29 (IST)08 May 2020
'We are going home': How Captain of Abu Dhabi-Kochi flight welcomed passengers

Greeting 177 passengers onboard the Air India IX 419 AbuDhabi Kochi flight, Captain Anshul Sheoran of IX 419 AbuDhabi Kochi flight welcomed passengers with the message “welcome aboard. We are going home”.

00:12 (IST)08 May 2020
BJP hails exercise to evacuate Indians stranded abroad as 'historic'

The BJP on Thursday hailed as "historic" the Vande Bharat Mission, India's biggest ever exercise to bring back its citizens stranded abroad, with party president J P Nadda saying that it underlines Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "compassion and exceptional leadership".

"As India commences the historic #VandeBharatMission to bring back Indians from across the globe, I congratulate PM Narendra Modi for his compassion and exceptional leadership at this very crucial juncture," Nadda tweeted.

He added, "I also welcome our sisters and brothers back to India, and wish them good health. I also appeal to them to extend full cooperation, follow the rules of personal distancing, hygiene and support local authorities in the fight against coronavirus."

23:36 (IST)07 May 2020
Scenes from Kozhikode airport:182 Indian nationals arrive from Dubai

In pics: Passengers embarking the Dubai-Kozhikode flight IX 344 being screened at CCJ Airport in Kozhikode. A total of 363 Indian nationals have arrived from the UAE in Kerala today.

(Source: PRD, Gov of Kerala)

The CCJ Airport at Kozhikode (Source: PRD, Gov of Kerala) 

Passengers being screened for temperature at Kozhikode airport (Source: Air India) 

The Air India crew donned PPE as Indian nationals alight from the flight (Air India)

23:26 (IST)07 May 2020
Second flight with 182 passengers onboard land in Kozhikode

In Calicut airport, first flight lands with 182 passengers including five children. The passengers were brought out in batches, screened and sent for Covid-19 awareness classes. The Dubai-Kozhikode flight IX 344 with 177 passengers and five infants took off at 5.46 pm as part of the repatriation exercise named 'Vande Bharat Mission.'

23:20 (IST)07 May 2020
Air ticket from Kerala to Bahrain open for sale

Tickets for Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) to Bahrain flight is open for sale. Only Bahrain Nationals and permanent residents of Bahrain can travel by this flight: Air India Express Spokesperson

23:05 (IST)07 May 2020
Watch | Passengers arrive at the Cochin International Airport

Passengers arrive at the Cochin International Airport from Abu Dhabi. This was the first flight bringing Indians home as part of the government's Vande Bharat mission.

22:57 (IST)07 May 2020
Visuals from Kochi Airport


(Source: Air India Express)

22:52 (IST)07 May 2020
Second flight lands in Kozhikode

The second Air India Express flight that took off from Dubai with 177 Indian nationals on board has also landed in Kozhikode.

22:24 (IST)07 May 2020
Onboard 177 passengers, stranded Indians from Abu Dhabi land in Kochi

First repatriation of the Air India Express flight, the IX 452, from Abu Dhabi has landed in Kochi, Kerala as part of India's biggest ever repatriation exercise to bring back its citizens stranded abroad amidst the international travel lockdown over the coronavirus pandemic. Carrying 177 passengers, the flight's doors will be opened soon

22:21 (IST)07 May 2020
Air India flight from Abu Dhabi lands in Kochi

Air India Express flight that took off from Abu Dhabi with 177 Indian nationals on board has landed in Kochi.

22:02 (IST)07 May 2020
Evacuations of stranded Indians from Maldives: Here are the pick-up points

The Indian Embassy in Maldives has shared the bus pick-up points and locations for stranded Indians who will be brought to the country onboard the INS Jalashwa Friday. 

21:10 (IST)07 May 2020
Visuals from outside Cochin Airport

(Source: PRD, Gov of Kerala)
20:38 (IST)07 May 2020
Inside INS Jalashwa

INS Jalashwa of the Indian Navy arrived off the port of Male Thursday to undertake the evacuation of Indian citizens stranded at the Maldives during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The ship is part of Operation Samudra Setu launched by the Indian Navy to bring Indian citizens home from foreign shores.

(Source: Indian Navy PRO)
19:33 (IST)07 May 2020
Second flight from Dubai takes off for Kozhikode

Second Air India Express Flight from UAE also left for Kerala. The flight took off from Dubai for Kozhikode with 177 passengers on board. One passenger was added to attend final rites of her mother after one passenger dropped out due to immigration issue, the Consulate General of India, Dubai said in a tweet.

19:15 (IST)07 May 2020
Air India flight from Abu Dhabi carrying 177 Indian nationals takes off

The first of the two flights from the UAE carrying 177 Indian nationals left for Kerala on Thursday, as India began its biggest ever repatriation exercise to bring back its citizens stranded abroad amidst the international travel lockdown over the coronavirus pandemic.

18:23 (IST)07 May 2020
Boarding underway for Abu Dhabi-Kochi flight

(Source: Air India Express)

14 flights in a week: Delhi airport prepares for over 3,600 evacuees The evacuees will be medically screened upon arrival and sent to quarantine facilities, for at least seven to 14 days, depending on the states.

A day after the Indian government’s announcement to repatriate Indians stranded in 12 countries, the website of the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MOCA) crashed on Wednesday afternoon.

“The MOCA website is down due to unprecedented traffic. Team NIC (National Informatics Centre) is working on it. Details regarding evacuation flights will be put up on the Air India website soon. Kindly check there directly. Our apologies for the inconvenience caused,” the ministry said on Twitter at 12.22 PM on Wednesday.

Read | Delhi airport prepares for over 3,600 evacuees

Even as the government announced on Monday that the process of evacuating stranded Indians from overseas will begin on May 7, sources in the Ministry of Tourism said the process of repatriation of foreigners who were stranded in India is almost complete now. As per their estimates, around 30,000 international visitors stranded in various parts of the country, have returned to their home countries by now through several rescue flights operating from key airports.

Read more | Kochi airport set to receive evacuees from Middle East

Over 4,000 stranded foreigners were helped through the ‘Stranded in India’ portal launched by the Ministry of Tourism a few days after the lockdown was announced in March, a senior official told The Indian Express.

However, sources said, there are many others who are still stranded in various parts of the country. According to the Ministry of Tourism, “Around a thousand international visitors are confined to their hotel rooms since they could not afford the rescue flights, which were quite expensive.”

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