India launches major operation to repatriate citizens stranded abroad
Indian authorities plan to repatriate more than 200,000 of its stranded citizens abroad (photo illustration). NARINDER NANU / AFP
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More than 15,000 people, stranded abroad due to the stopping of air transport, will be repatriated by plane and warships in a week. But ultimately, more than 200,000 people could be brought back to India.
With our correspondent in New Delhi, Sébastien Farcis
Indian authorities are launching a huge repatriation operation this Thursday morning. Sixty-four flights are planned over seven days, to repatriate up to 14,800 Indians from the United States, England, the Gulf, Singapore and the Philippines. Two warships will also be able to bring another 2,000 stranded citizens to the Maldives.
This repatriation is chargeable, between 150 and 1,200 euros depending on the country, and it is reserved for people in distress. It must also be done by avoiding any new contagion . “ Nobody will say that this operation is without risks. But we have taken steps to minimize it. We delayed the flights to have time to test the entire Air India crew that will be flying, "said Hardeep Puri, the Minister of Civil Aviation, during a television interview.
Vande Bharat Mission is by far the most comprehensive & complicated evacuation plan. This is not just about bringing people back into the country. This will also involve screening, quarantine & other arrangements that will have to be made for the citizens by the states. @ MoCA_GoI pic.twitter.com/KeOEYok6RkHardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) May 6, 2020
" We will also take the temperature of the passengers before the flight, but there is always a risk that an infected person will not show symptoms, " added Hardeep Puri.
On arrival, each passenger will be placed in forced and paid quarantine for two weeks. This repatriation could dissuade many Indians from returning, ultimately. However, the Indian authorities plan to repatriate more than 200,000 people in the long term.
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