First flight to Kerala takes off; INS Jalashwa enters Male port
Nearly 15,000 Indians stranded overseas are expected to return on special Air India flights from 12 countries over a week, starting Thursday. The government will operate 64 flights until May 13 and use three Navy ships, as part of Phase I of an evacuation plan, named "Vande Bharat Mission". Of the 64 flights, 15 would be to Kerala, 11 each to Delhi and Tamil Nadu, seven each to Maharashtra and Telangana, and the rest to Gujarat, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, and Uttar Pradesh.
Today, on day-1, two flights will arrive in Kerala's Cochin and Kozhikode airport from Abu Dhabi and Dubai with approximately 200 passengers in each flight. Another flight will arrive in Delhi from Malaysia, one flights to Mumbai from Singapore and one to Ahmedabad. The MHA on Monday said "medical screening of passengers" would be done before a flight. "Only asymptomatic passengers would be allowed to travel," it said.
"On reaching the destination, everyone would have to register on the Aarogya Setu app. Everyone would be medically screened. After scrutiny, they would be quarantined for 14 days, either in a hospital or in an institutional quarantine on payment-basis, by the concerned State government. Covid-19 test would be done after 14 days and further action would be taken according to health protocols. State Governments are being advised to make arrangements," it said.
Sources said this plan may turn out to be the country's largest evacuation operation. While the numbers are dynamic, they could go up to 2 lakh Indians — the only playbook New Delhi has, in terms of scale, is the 1990 airlift of 1.7 lakh people from Kuwait following its invasion by Iraq.
(Inputs and image from theindianexpress.com)