As part of India’s Vande Bharat Mission, the first batch of stranded Indian citizens from Kuwait landed in Hyderabad late on Saturday in a special Air India flight AI-988.
Airport sources informed that the entire airport was sanitized and all arrangements were made to ensure social distancing among passengers during their movement. All passengers disembarked the aircraft in a lot of 25 passengers and they were subjected to thermal screening by the Airport Health Organisation (APHO) officials. Thermal cameras were installed near the aerobridge itself.
Glass shields were provided at each manned immigration counter to avoid any direct contact between the passengers and Immigration officers, said an airport source adding that the airport had provided seating arrangments and complimentary boxes of food for the arriving passengers.
Dr Anuradha Medoju, senior regional director(MoHFW) and in-charge of APHO for AP and TS, told indianexpress.com all the passengers have undergone exit health screening in Kuwait before boarding the flight and they will go through a similar screening in Hyderabad as well.
“All passengers are asymptomatic. We are ensuring social distancing here. They will go through thermal screening and they have to fill a self-declaration form. We are following all established protocols till handing them over to 14-day institution quarantine,” said Dr Medoju, adding that state government will take it forward if anyone is found
with any symptoms.
— India in Kuwait (@indembkwt) May 9, 2020
“There are passengers who are elderly citizens, pregnant women, non-COVID patients, children, migrant workers who lost jobs, hailing from across Andhra, and Telangana. Paid quarantine is available for Rs 15,000 and Rs 30,000. Anyone who cannot afford this can take free institutional quarantine arranged by the government. The first priority is for paid quarantine,” said M Bheem Reddy, an activist who works on the rescue of migrants from abroad.
He demanded that the flight charges and quarantine charges of the poor migrants returning from the Gulf should be waived off or borne by the state government. In as many as seven flights, 2350 passengers are set to arrive in
Hyderabad from six countries.
Telangana Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar while reviewing the arrangements for their arrival by special flights on May 6 asked officials to make arrangements for institutional quarantine, medical screening at the airport, and coordination with the Nodal Officers designated by MEA (Ministry of External Affairs).
While stating that the passengers will have to undergo institutional quarantine at their own cost, Kumar had directed the officials to coordinate with the hotel to prepare packages for their 14 days stay to suit the budgets of different travelers.
The state government has arranged medical teams to monitor their health on a regular basis. The passengers were taken to the quarantine centers in state-run RTC buses.