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New norms for quarantined foreigners, Indians issued

After several countries approached the Centre for evacuation of their citizens who are quarantined in the country, the MHA on Thursday issued new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) allowing them to leave the country — in chartered aircraft arranged by their respective nations — after they test negative for COVID-19 infection. The MHA also issued guidelines […]

Written by Deeptiman Tiwary | New Delhi | Published: April 3, 2020 6:26:09 am
A flight evacuating foreign nationals, mostly from European countries, took off from Kolkata Airport Tuesday morning. The Air India flight was scheduled to leave for Frankfurt after a brief stop in Delhi. (Express photo by Partha Paul)

After several countries approached the Centre for evacuation of their citizens who are quarantined in the country, the MHA on Thursday issued new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) allowing them to leave the country — in chartered aircraft arranged by their respective nations — after they test negative for COVID-19 infection.

The MHA also issued guidelines for the release of Indian citizens quarantined after foreign travel, saying they would be given transit passes, but would have to bear their own expenses.

“…Some foreign countries have approached the Government of India for evacuation of their nationals. In view of the above, it has now been decided that requests received from foreign governments… would be examined by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on a case-to-case basis,” the MHA addendum, issued on Thursday, said.

According to the new norms, local embassies/consulates of respective nations will have to arrange for a foreigner’s transit. An evacuee will be issued a transit pass, which would be honoured by all states en route, it said.

For foreign-returned quarantined Indians who have now tested negative, the MHA said they would be released “as per standard health protocol”.

“These persons are expected to return to their homes… by making their own transport arrangements,” the addendum said, adding that they too would be issued a transit pass.

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