Covid-19: 234 Indians from coronavirus-hit Iran reach India
The third batch of Indians from Iran arrived early Sunday. A second batch of 44 Indian pilgrims had arrived from Iran on Friday.
More than 200 Indians, including students and pilgrims stranded in coronavirus-hit Iran, reached India early on Sunday, external affairs minister S Jaishankar said.
S Jaishankar thanked Iranian authorities for helping India in the evacuation of its nationals, who came back in a Mahan Air flight, an Iranian carrier. They landed in Mumbai.
“234 Indians stranded in Iran have arrived in India; including 131 students and 103 pilgrims. Thank you Ambassador @dhamugaddam (Dhamu Gaddam) and @India_in_Iran team for your efforts. Thank Iranian authorities,” the minister tweeted.
Iran is among the worst affected countries in the Middle East with 12,729 cases and even senior officials testing positive. It said on Saturday the coronavirus outbreak has killed another 97 people, pushing the death toll in the country to 611.
India has carried out several evacuations of Indians nationals from Iran in the past few days.
The first batch of 58 Indians was brought back in a C-17 Globemaster, the largest military aircraft in the Indian Air Force’s (IAF’s) inventory, on Tuesday followed by another evacuation of 44 individuals on Friday.
The aircraft, which took off from the Hindon airbase on Monday evening and returned Tuesday morning, also brought swab samples of 529 Indians to carry out laboratory tests and check whether they have the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
India and Iran have both begun operations to evacuate citizens stranded in each other’s territories and have pledged full cooperation in this regard.
India is trying to set up a laboratory in Iran to test all Indians for the coronavirus to expedite their exit and in the meanwhile, their samples are being sent to India in batches for testing onboard special Mahan Air flights.
India has reported two deaths and 84 positive cases of coronavirus so far.
The Centre has declared coronavirus a disaster in order to unlock funds for states to mobilise resources aimed at stopping the spread of the deadly virus.
Two new cases on Saturday—one each in Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir—took the tally of confirmed infections to 84. The Union health ministry has said 10 of these have made a recovery and discharged.