Rubina Ali, the Joint Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation announced that Air India would be taking a flight to Italy to rescue Indians stranded there, amid coronavirus outbreak. The evacuation has been planned to save those who are stuck in the nation which has emerged as the second-most impacted country after China. “The flight would take off tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon and would be landing on Sunday morning at Delhi Airport,” she said. Ms. Rubina was appointed for the post in August 2017 and has a five-year-long tenure.
Rescue operation in Iran
Civil aviation ministry said that 44 passengers landed in Mumbai on an Iran Air flight and these have been sent to the Navy’s quarantine facility in Pune. Ali has announced that the second flight of Mahan Air will depart from Tehran tomorrow to get back to other Indians trapped in Iran. there are about 6000 Indians stuck in the West Asian nation.
Out of these, most are in Qom, a place with religious importance. These pilgrims hail from Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, and Maharashtra. The city is apparently the epicentre of the viral outbreak in Iran. Apart from the pilgrims, there are about 600 students, studying medicine, 1000 fishermen, from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Gujarat and 1000 others who are in the country on a visa for official or religious purposes.
Evacuation from Wuhan, China
Since Wuhan was the place from where the virus broke out, it was tough to carry out people of Indian origin from the city. The evacuation took place in two phases. 324 Indians were airlifted out of Wuhan on February 1 and 323 others landed in the country on February 2. These were followed by a third rescue operation that took place on February 27. Indian Air Force evacuated 112 people from Wuhan, which included 76 Indian nationals and 36 foreign nationals. The same IAF flight also provided 15 tonnes of medical assistance which comprised of masks, gloves and other emergency medical equipment to China.
The procedure before evacuation
Those who are being brought back to the country from around the world are first being tested for the virus. Only those who test negative for coronavirus are being evacuated to India. Apart from the mandatory negative certificated, there are seven countries (Iran, South Korea, China, Italy, France, Spain, and Germany) from where the travelers will be quarantined. Moreover, before getting back any Indians, a team of Indian doctors is being sent to the respective country to collect samples that are tested at the AIIMS Laboratory.
As per a report by The Hindu, India has so far evacuated 948 persons from COVID-19 affected countries. 900 of these evacuees are Indian citizens and 48 from different nationalities, including from Maldives, Myanmar, Bangladesh, China, USA, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Nepal, South Africa, and Peru, the Health Ministry reported. The coronavirus outbreak implies the need for maintaining a buffer stock of raw materials for medicines which has been assured by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA).
Saavriti is an intern with SheThePeople.TV