Friday, May 08, 2020

The wait is over: Keralites abroad start coming home

Kochi/Kozhikode: Weeks after foreign nationals from several countries were allowed to fly back home in special aircraft, India finally began to bring back its own nationals stranded abroad ever since the pandemic struck and India imposed a stringent lockdown. The first two flights from the UAE carrying 354 Keralites arrived at Kochi and Kozhikode late on Thursday, kicking off India's repatriation mission christened 'Vande Bharat'. Air India Express flight IX452 carrying 177 passengers from Abu Dhabi to Kochi landed at Nedumbassery at around 10.10 pm, while the Dubai-Kozhikode flight arrived at Karipur at 10.32 pm.
All passengers were subjected to predetermined health protocols at both airports and sent to mandatory 7-day institutional quarantine. Prior to boarding, these passengers, who were selected on the basis of medical history, loss of jobs, pregnant women, senior citizens and those with complications and financial issues, were medically checked and it was confirmed that there are no suspected Covid-19 cases. "All of them have cleared the tests," the consul general of India in Dubai was quoted as saying by the Gulf News.

The passengers included 18 pregnant women, five infants and 12 senior citizens and three people including identical twin brothers Jackson and Benson Andrews who have been stranded in Dubai Airport for 50 days. Air India crew members on board the flights were fully protected with protective gear, including Personal Protective Equipment, to reduce the risk of infection. The last two rows of seats in both the flights are not occupied. In case of any health issues, passengers can use them.
08/05/20 Times of India
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