Tuesday, May 05, 2020

First batch of Indians stranded in Gulf to reach Kerala on May 7

Thiruvananthapuram: After a prolonged delay, Gulf migrants will reach India on May 7. Kerala has made all arrangements for the return of Malayalee diaspora who are stranded in the Gulf in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Four flights, Abu Dhabi-Kochi, Doha- Kochi, Dubai-Kozhikode and Riyadh-Kozhikode will arrive on Thursday. Around 1,100 passengers are expected to land on the first day of evacuation in Kerala. Air India is planning to operate 64 flights from the Gulf in the first week of evacuation.

On May 8, a flight from Bahrain will reach Kochi and on May 9, two flights are scheduled to reach Kochi, one from Kuwait and another from Oman.

The embassies in Gulf have shortlisted persons who are registered with Indian embassies for travel. In the first phase of evacuation, only persons shortlisted by embassies on the priority lists are allowed to travel from the Gulf. Pregnant women, Senior citizens with acute health problems, children, and persons with expired visiting visas are given preference.

The returnees can buy tickets only after receiving clearance from the embassies and after undergoing medical checkups before boarding the flight. But, confusion prevailed over quarantine procedures prescribed for NRIs returning to India by the Union Government.

Kerala has demanded that the returnees be allowed to go home after screening at the airport and remain in home quarantine for 28 days. But the directive of the Centre insists that all returnees be shifted to quarantine centres for 14 days and allowed to go home only after tests. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has convened a high-level meeting to review arrangements in the wake of the new directive.
05/05/20 Jeemon Jacob/India Today

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