Coronavirus update: £75 million fund to airlift Britons stranded in India, elsewhere

Besides online petitions, the British news media have widely reported the conditions of British citizens – including those of Indian origin – in various states, particularly in Goa, Kerala and Punjab. In some cases, they reportedly faced hostility and scrounged for food and water.
A tourist wearing a protective mask as a precautionary measure following multiple positive cases of coronavirus in New Delhi.(Burhaan Kinu/HT PHOTO)
A tourist wearing a protective mask as a precautionary measure following multiple positive cases of coronavirus in New Delhi.(Burhaan Kinu/HT PHOTO)
Published on Mar 31, 2020 04:26 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, London | By

Facing trenchant criticism over alleged lack of action to repatriate thousands of Britons stuck in India and other countries, the Boris Johnson government has announced a £75 million plan to charter flights as part of a new partnership with several airlines.

Besides online petitions, the British news media have widely reported the conditions of British citizens – including those of Indian origin – in various states, particularly in Goa, Kerala and Punjab. In some cases, they reportedly faced hostility and scrounged for food and water.

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Foreign secretary Dominic Raab said he has spoken to external affairs minister S Jaishankar and foreign ministers of other countries. An agreement has been reached with airlines such as British Airways, Virgin, Easyjet and Jet2 to implement the repatriation.

Raab said: “This is a worrying time for many British citizens travelling abroad. We’ve already worked with airlines and governments to enable hundreds of thousands to return home on commercial flights, and we will keep as many of those options open as possible”.

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Charter flights are being arranged to bring Britons from various airports in India, the Foreign Office said. British authorities in India have been fielding a large number of calls and queries from Britons stranded in the country.

The Foreign Office has advised Britons against all non-essential travel to India and elsewhere.

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Also read: Covid-19 could fundamentally change India’s political economy

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Prasun Sonwalkar was Editor (UK & Europe), Hindustan Times. During more than three decades, he held senior positions on the Desk, besides reporting from India’s north-east and other states, including a decade covering politics from New Delhi. He has been reporting from UK and Europe since 1999.

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