Wednesday, May 05, 2021

172 Koreans airlifted out of southern India

Some 170 Koreans residing in India, a Covid-19 hotspot which may have produced a more transmissible virus variant, returned home Tuesday on a special flight.  

 The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters said Tuesday that a special flight operated by Indian air carrier Vistara landed at Incheon International Airport around 10:15 a.m. carrying 172 people including employees of Hyundai Motor, business travelers and students after departing from Chennai International Airport in southern India. There were 175 people expected to board the plane but three were confirmed Covid-19 positive at the last minute.  

 Another 211 Koreans are expected to return Friday departing from Bangalore International Airport on another special flight by Asiana Airlines.  

 India has reported more than 300,000 new Covid-19 cases per day for over a week and over 3,000 deaths daily. India’s official tally of Covid-19 cases surpassed 20 million Tuesday, nearly doubling in the past three months, while the country recorded more than 220,000 deaths. 

 Regular flights between Korea and India were suspended in March 2020 due to the pandemic. Since April 24, the Korean government has also suspended non-scheduled flights from India, allowing the operation of special flights for Korean residents to return home on a limited basis.  

 Passenger jets bound for Korea from India are required to fill fewer than 60 percent of their seats, and at least 90 percent of those seats must be occupied by Korean citizens. All passengers are required to show a certificate proving they tested negative for Covid-19 within the past 72 hours and undergo temperature checks.

 The government said another 10 special flights will be operated this month to bring more Koreans out of India.

04/05/21 Korea JoongAng Daily

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