With about 20,000 British nationals wanting to leave India amid the lockdown due to COVID-19, the British High Commission in New Delhi on Sunday said they are organising seven special flights to evacuate British nationals.
The chartered flights will depart for London from Goa (on April 8, 10 and 12), Mumbai (April 9, 11) and New Delhi (April 9, 11).
“An estimated 35,000 British nationals are currently in India. Over 20,000 have told us they wish to return to the UK as soon as possible,” a British High Commission spokesperson said on Sunday.
Acting High Commissioner to India Jan Thompson said, “We know how worrying the past few weeks have been for British nationals in India. I hope this announcement will bring relief, especially to those in greatest need. Due to the large numbers of British travellers involved, the scale of this operation is huge. The UK Government continues to work hard with our Indian counterparts in New Delhi and London to arrange a safe journey back for as many people as possible.”
Foreign Office Minister of State, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon said: “The UK is working around the clock to support the large numbers of British travellers who wish to return to the UK from India and around the world. In the absence of commercial flights, these first charter flights from India should provide relief to some of our British travellers who are desperate to return home, especially for the most vulnerable and those in greatest need.”
The High Commission spokesperson said that ensuring the safety and well-being of British nationals is the top priority of the UK government, and that the High Commission will continue to provide consular support to any British nationals who remain in India and require assistance.
The High Commission said British nationals should use city-specific special webpages created by the mission – Goa, Mumbai and New Delhi – to book flights and register their details. “Movement within India is currently very restricted. Travellers should only apply for flights leaving from the state they are currently in,” it said.
On April 4, 113 of the most vulnerable British nationals had left Goa on an Irish flight.
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