Starting from May, around 15,000 Indians who are stranded in 12 countries will be brought back home on over 60 flights. The Government said that these people got stranded due to the coronavirus lockdown and need to get back to India. The entire exercise will take about a week.
India had banned arrival of international flights beginning March 23. The lockdown was first extended till May 3 and then again till May 17 causing inconvenience to many people outside the country.
The targeted numbers are to get 2000 Indian back to the country daily from May 7 to May 13. Government sources stated that the 12 countries from where Indians will be evacuated include the Gulf, the US, the UK, Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia.
The Home Ministry however stated that this will not be a free service and everyone flying back will have to pay to get back to India. The process will be carried out in a phased manner.
The statement has clearly stated that, "This facility would be made available on payment-basis. Non-scheduled commercial flights would be arranged for air travel."
According to a press release, "Government of India will be facilitating the return of Indian nationals stranded abroad on compelling grounds in a phased manner."
It has however been added that only those who show no symptoms of COVID-19 will be allowed to travel. A medical screening will be carried out before the passengers board the flights and only those who are asymptomatic will be allowed to travel.
Once they reach India, they will be checked medically and will be quarantined at an institutional facility or in a hospital on payment basis.
The standard operating protocol (SOP) has been prepared and a list of distressed citizens is being prepared by the Indian embassies and high commissions.
Health protocols that have been issued by the Health Ministry and the Civil Aviation Ministry will have to be followed during the flight.
All passengers will have to register themselves on the Arogya Setu app on reaching the destination. The Home Ministry said, "Everyone would be medically screened. After scrutiny, they would be quarantined for 14 days, either in a hospital or in an institutional quarantine on payment-basis, by the concerned state government."