Saturday, March 28, 2020

US arranges airlifting citizens stuck in India

New York: The US government was arranging to airlift American citizens stuck in India because of the lockdown imposed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a State Department official.

Ian Brownlee, the official dealing with consular affairs, said on Friday: "We are working directly with both US and foreign carriers to lay on aircraft direct from India to the US," to bring them back.

He said that the flights could start in about three days, "but it's the permitting that takes a while both in India and the US".

Last week, the State Department issued a "Level 4" travel alert advising its citizens not to travel internationally and asking those abroad to return home.

India is under a lockdown to fight the coronavirus pandemic with all commercial passenger flights cancelled.

Brownlee said that about 1,500 Americans in the New Delhi area, between 600 and 700 in the Mumbai area and 300 to 400 elsewhere had expressed interest in returning home.

He said that a church group has chartered a large aircraft to bring 150 or so Americans from India and the State Department was helping them get the necessary permits for the plane.
28/03/20 Arul Louis/daijiworld
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