A special IAF C-17 Globemaster plane took off from the Hindon Airforce base on Monday as the Government of India has decided to evacuate Indians stranded in coronavirus-affected Iran from the Iranian capital city of Tehran. Reports state that at present, there are about 2,000 Indians living in Iran.
The plane is flying with 14 Indian Airforce officials, 4 medical staff on board and is scheduled to return with evacuated Indians on March 20.
According to a statement given by Wing Commander Karan Kapoor to ANI, the scheduled departure of the plane from the Hindon airbase was around 8:30 p.m. on Monday. The plane is expected to land at the Tehran base at around 2 a.m. (local time) on Tuesday. Indians who will be brought back will be quarantined at Hindon.
"We will depart Tehran at about 4.30 am and land back here at about 9.30 am. Facilities to quarantine the passengers have been set up at Hindon," Wing Commander Kapoor said.
Escalating cases of coronavirus in Iran
At present, one of the most affected countries with coronavirus is Iran with about 7,161 reported cases so far and 237 people reportedly died due to the infection, the highest outside of China.
The Indian Air Force had brought back about 76 Indians and 36 foreign nationals from China on the plane that had taken 15 tonnes of medical supplies to help China.
External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar had stated on Sunday that Indian nationals who were stranded in Iran were being screened for the infection and follow up arrangements are being discussed with Iranian authorities to bring them back.
The minister met families of Indian students stranded in Iran assuring them that their safe return was the Government's top priority.
With 40 Indian citizens stranded at Qom city in Iran, a team of doctors from New Delhi have been sent for setting up a screening facility at Qom.
Iranian Embassy stated that people who will be tested negative will be transferred to India while all those who will be tested positive will be hospitalized in one of the advanced special medical centres designated by Iran's Ministry of Health.
Coronavirus is spreading to many countries after it was first reported at Wuhan in China in December last year.