In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak Modi Government undertook evacuation operations from several countries. As the coronavirus epidemic spreads globally and more cases come to the fore, the Indian government is leaving no stone unturned to help its nationals stranded in different countries hit by the virus. So far, the government of India has evacuated 1444 persons, including 48 nationals from countries such as Maldives, Myanmar, Bangladesh, China, US, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Nepal, South Africa and Peru.
– S.No. -Country -Number of people rescued
- China – 766
- Japan – 124
- Iran – 336
- Italy – 481
The Wuhan city in Hubei province of China had become the epicenter of the COVID-19 and there were hundreds of Indians stuck in the city. India engaged with China to safely evacuate its citizens and citizens of other friendly nations on a priority basis.
Air India operated two special flights for the evacuation efforts which brought back 654 passengers that included 647 Indian citizens.
The first batch consisting of 324 Indians were evacuated from Wuhan, China on 1st February. 104 of these were quarantined for monitoring at ITBP Chhawla camp and the rest 220 were housed in the army facility at Manesar.
The second batch of 330 passengers (including 7 Maldivian citizens and two Indian Embassy officials who were on the ground to coordinate the evacuation efforts) arrived in India on 3rd February. 300 of these (including 7 Maldivians) were housed at ITBP Chhawla Camp and 30 were shifted to Manesar facility for monitoring.
On 26th February, Indian Air Force evacuated 112 passengers from Hubei province in China. Among these 76 were Indian citizens. The other nationals evacuated by Indian Air Force included citizens of Myanmar, Bangladesh, Maldives, China, USA, Madagascar and South Africa. The passengers reached India on 27th February and subsequently are housed at ITBP camp for a period of 14 days as per protocol. They have tested negative for COVID-19 in the first test. The IAF flight had also carried medical supplies which were given as good-will gesture to China.
The Japanese Cruise Ship, Diamond Princess, carrying 3700 passengers faced a COVID-19 outbreak when 705 passengers were tested positive. Among the 705 affected passengers, 16 were Indian nationals.On 27th February, Air India flight carried an evacuation operation bringing back 124 passengers including 5 foreign nationals from Sri Lanka, Nepal, South Africa and Peru, from Port of Yokohama in Japan. 16 Indian nationals who were tested positive for COVID-19 are undergoing treatment.
The evacuees are housed at army facility in Manesar. They havetested negative in the first test.
As it became clear that Iran was also facing a COVID-19 outbreak, Government of India started to undertake measures to ensure safety and security of its citizens in the country. Indian nationals in Iran include pilgrims, students and fishermen. On 7th March, 108 samples were received from Iran.
These samples are being tested at the laboratory of AIIMS. Also, six scientists from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) have been stationed in Iran. Equipment and reagents have also been dispatched to enable them to setup a lab.
During the operation over 590 Indians, including students, stranded in coronavirus-hit Iran were brought till now and were quarantined at separate facilities, according to officials.
A special flight of Air India carrying 211 Indian students and eight other passengers, who were stranded in coronavirus-hit Italy after flights were cancelled, landed in Delhi on 15th March 2020.
Government said the flight, which had taken off from Milan, carried 218 Indians, including 211 students. They will be shifted to Indo-Tibetan Border Police’s camp in Chhawla area of the Capital.
A batch of 263 Indians evacuated from Italy in view of the COVID-19 outbreak there were brought back to the country on 22nd March 2020 and sent to a ITBP quarantine facility, officials said.
“The special flight had 263 passengers. It landed at Delhi airport from Rome,” an Air India official said.
All the 263 people are being taken to our quarantine centre in Chhawla area of south-west Delhi after thermal screening and immigration at the tarmac.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) told the Lok Sabha that 276 Indians have been infected by the novel coronavirus overseas, with the maximum number being reported from Iran at 255 cases. Of the 276 infected Indians overseas, 255 are in Iran, 12 in UAE, five in Italy, and one each in Hong Kong, Kuwait, Rwanda and Sri Lanka, the ministry said.
The Indian government not only evacuating its nationals from coronavirus hit countries but also emerged as the first responder to the needs of its neighbours in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, deploying quick-response medical teams and providing essential medical supplies, even as China has yet to despatch any assistance to the supplies ranging from testing kits to ventilators and medicines are being despatched to neighbouring countries, as they battle to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
US praises IAF for evacuating Indian nationals
The United States (US) on Tuesday praised the Indian Air Force (IAF) for bringing back home 58 Indian citizens from coronavirus-hit Iran. The US Department of State’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, in a tweet, said, “The safety & security of citizens is of the utmost importance, especially in challenging times. Pleased to see @IAF_MCC deploying @Boeing C-17s to evacuate Indian citizens back home. This unique aircraft has greatly enhanced #India’s disaster response capabilities.”
IAF brought back 58 Indians from Iran in a Boeing’s C-17 Globemaster aircraft on Tuesday, March 10. The IAF aircraft was sent to Tehran on March 9.
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has appreciated the high level commitment to duty showcased by the officials of Air India and Ministry of Health who conducted evacuation operation of the stranded Indians in Wuhan. In a letter he said ‘’Air India had conducted an emergency evacuation operations from the Wuhan city, which is the epicenter of the widely spreading N ovel Corona Virus Flu. Despite being aware of the aforementioned severe situation in the region, the Air India sent two B-747 aircraft with teams of Air India as well as teams from Ministry of Health for two consecutive days, i.e. 31st January 2020 and on 1stFebruary 2020, returning the next day.’’
India works because countless Indians do. Night or day, rain or shine. Went tonight to meet our immigration, health, security and airport officials @DelhiAirport who are responding to #COVID challenge.