First Flights to Bring Back Indians Stranded Abroad Landed In Kerala. Central Government begun VANDE BHARAT MISSION.


On Monday, the Central Government had announced plans to begin a massive exile of its citizens stranded abroad, dubbed the "Vande Bharat Mission." In the first week of the massive operation, 64 flights will bring 15,000 Indian citizens home from 12 countries.


Thirty nine pregnant women were among the 363 people who returned to India from the United Arab Emirates on Thursday night, i.e. 7th May,2020 via two Air India Express flights that formed the first leg of a massive repatriation programme involving 12 countries and 15,000 passengers. Two special flights with 363 Indians from Abu Dhabi and Dubai landed in Kerala on Thursday as a part of India's massive operation to bring back a number of the many thousands of citizens stuck abroad because of coronavirus restrictions. India has been under lockdown since March 25 to control the coronavirus pandemic. 

The first Air India Express flight had began at 5:07 pm (local time) from Abu Dhabi for Kochi and landed in Kochi around 10pm on Thursday. A second Dubai-Kozhikode flight took off at 5:46 pm (local time) as a part of the huge repatriation exercise named ''Vande Bharat Mission'' that may use passenger jets and naval ships with 182 passengers from Dubai landed in Kozhikkode roughly 20 minutes later.

Besides the one-way transport service, Air India has invited the qualified passengers under government’s new international travel norms, to use for passage from India to varied destinations. The airline will also send its aircraft to conduct clearance flights.

Before departure, all passengers have to undergo coronavirus anti-body tests at the airport and can be quarantined for seven days at a government facility, authorities have said.

They will then undergo the more reliable RT-PCR (Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) test and if negative, they will be allowed to self-quarantine at home for the remaining seven days. If they're positive, they're going to be moved to hospitals.

Pregnant women, people needing immediate treatment, those returning to attend ceremonies connected to death of an in depth relative, aged people needing continuous assistance and youngsters under 10 years are going to be permitted to travel to their houses, where they're going to be under strict home quarantine (self-isolation) for 14 days, officials said.

All domestic and international commercial passenger flights are suspended during the three phase lockdown which began on Annunciation on 25th March,2020 and can shall be in force till 17th May , 2020.

Passengers flying in from places with none test are going to be kept in institutional quarantine for all 14 days. All passengers who are arriving have to undergo multi-level screenings including thermal checks. Once cleared they're going to be seated in buses which will take them to their home districts where they're going to be quarantined. Pregnant women and seniors are exempted from institutional quarantine but will need to follow strict quarantine measures reception.

As one among the world's strictest virus lockdown, the central government had banned all incoming international flights in late March, leaving vast numbers of workers and students stranded.

Till now, it has various resisted evacuations, given the logistical and safety nightmare of bringing back and quarantining the returning citizens.

On Monday, the govt. announced plans to start out a phased repatriation of its citizens stranded abroad from May 7, 2020 within the most important exercise since national airline Air India flew back 1.7 lakh Indians during the first Gulf War.

The government added that "Air India will operate 64 flights from May 7 to May 13, 2020 to bring back around 15,000 Indian nationals stranded abroad because of the lockdown. Those taking the special flights are going to be charged around Rs 50,000 from Europe and Rs 1 lakh from the US".

More than 3 lakh Indians have requested a flight to reach their home. The consulate in Dubai said that it had received almost 2 lakh applications, appealing on Twitter for "patience and cooperation" as India undertakes the "massive task" of repatriation.

The oil-rich Gulf is reliant on a budget labour of many foreigners -- mostly from India, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka -- many of whom sleep in squalid camps far from the region's showy skyscrapers and malls.

But coronavirus and therefore the devastating economic impact of the pandemic has left many workers sick, unemployed, unpaid and at the mercy of sometimes unscrupulous employers.

Other flights will leave Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines, also as London, San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Washington. Naval warships are going to be wont to bring back Indians stuck in West Asia and therefore the Maldives.

Vande Bharat mission: Second batch of Indians to come back from Bangladesh on Friday.

As the passengers – many of them aged, disabled or children – disembarked from the flight, many were seen wiping tears.

“I am delighted to be in my place. Thank God, I will with my parents for my first delivery. Really grateful to all or any ,” said a pregnant woman on the Kochi flight who refused to share her name.

Shah Jahan, who boarded the flight from Abu Dhabi, said he decided to return to India as he had lost his job. “I am happy to be a part of the first evacuation flight,” he said.

Passengers arrived at Abu Dhabi and Dubai airports as early as 9.30 am on Thursday. Some of the passengers were carrying the Tricolor.

Indian ambassador Pavan Kapoor was seen inquiring about the procedure from a number of the passengers undergoing medical screening at the Abu Dhabi airport.

"Kudos to all the passengers for waiting patiently for his or her turn for medical screening and many thanks to all the frontline doctors and airport staff for extending full support,” the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi tweeted. “Vande Bharat Mission, the world’s biggest repatriation exercise starts today. More than 350 Indians from UAE will be flying back. Thanks to all,” Kapoor said.

“All of them have cleared the tests,” Consul General of India in Dubai, Vipul, was quoted as saying by the Gulf News. He said the standards of passengers’ selection included medical cases, loss of jobs, pregnant women and senior citizens. Those with complications and financial issues were also picked.

In the first week of the massive operation, 64 flights will bring 15,000 Indian citizens home from 12 countries. All those who travel back will have to pay for their tickets, undergo strict screening processes, download the Aarogya Setu app, and go into institutional quarantine after landing.

The first phase runs from May 7 to May 13 and involves the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Bangladesh, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, United Kingdom and United States. All international passengers will be charged for the journey and fares from Gulf countries to Kerala range from Rs 15,000 to Rs 16,000. Rescue flights from London will cost Rs 50,000 while flights from the United States have been priced at Rs 1,00,000.

At least 300,000 people have people have registered to come back in West Asia alone but the authorities are focusing only on “compelling cases”.

A set of standard operating procedures by the Union home ministry said that priority will be given to “asymptomatic” migrant laborer’s/workers abroad who have been laid off, short term visa holders faced with expiry (of visas), persons with medical emergency, pregnant women, the elderly, students, and those required to return to India due to the death of a family member.


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