New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: In the biggest repatriation to bring back Indians stranded abroad due to the coronavirus pandemic, the first repatriation Air India Express flight with 181 passengers from Abu Dhabi landed at Cochin International Airport on Thursday. The repatriation was carried out under India's massive evacuation effort named 'Vande Bharat Mission'.

Soon after the second Air Indian flight from Dubai with 177 Indian nationals onboard landed in Kozhikode, Kerala on Thursday night. The flight took off from Dubai International Airport evacuating Indians stranded in the city due to coronavirus lockdown. 

In all, a total of 358 nationals were evacuated -- they will now be sent to the Institutional Quarantine facilities set up by the administration in their respective districts, said Kerala government officials.

Air India will operate 64 flights from May 7 to May 13 to bring back around 15,000 Indian nationals stranded abroad amid the COVID-19-induced lockdown. Starting from 7 May, 64 flights will take off for 12 countries including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Maldives, Singapore and the US.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has installed an ultraviolet disinfection chamber at the Cochin airport, which will be used to disinfect the baggage. The chamber has been developed by a laboratory in Cochin.

All passengers were asked to download the Aarogya Setu app on their mobile devices and submit forms of undertaking, as directed by the government of India, on their arrival at the airport, they said. The pilots and cabin crew were in PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) suit on the flights.

The Kerala government also modified its order on quarantine partially and said that all the evacuees who were not tested at the point of departure will be put in institutional quarantine (IQ) for 14 days, while those tested at departure and found negative will be put in IQ for seven days.

If they do not develop symptoms after a week, they would be put in home quarantine for the next seven days, said the order issued by Chief Secretary Tom Jose. The Centre had insisted that all passengers coming to India should undergo a 14-day Institutional Quarantine.

Today, Air India flight from Bangladesh to Srinagar, carrying 167 stranded passengers including all medical students from Jammu and Kashmir, will leave for India at around 11 am.


(With ANI, PTI Inputs)

Posted By: Talib Khan