Special flight to bring back more than 270 Indians from Iran
More than 270 Indians are set to return from Iran in a special flight on Tuesday as part of efforts to evacuate some 500 pilgrims and students from the Covid-19-affected country by the end of the week, people familiar with developments said.
Iran’s Mahan Air will operate the special flight that will bring back the Indians who have already been screened and tested negative for the Coronavirus, the people said on condition of anonymity. The flight is expected to land in New Delhi after midnight on Tuesday.
Mahan Air is expected to operate another special flight on March 28 to evacuate more Indians, the people said.
“We are looking to evacuate some 500 Indians, including pilgrims and students, from Iran by the end of this week,” said one of the people cited above.
India has already evacuated close to 600 of its nationals from Iran, where 255 Indians tested positive for Covid-19. One of the people who tested positive died subsequently while the others are being treated by Iranian doctors at a special facility set up by the Indian embassy in the holy city of Qom.
The Indian embassy in Tehran has deployed its officials at several locations to help the stranded Indians, a majority of them Shia pilgrims from Ladakh and Kashmir. Iran is among the countries worst affected by the pandemic, with more than 21,600 infections and 1,685 deaths.
Meanwhile, the French embassy is coordinating with Indian authorities to arrange the evacuation of more than 1,000 French travellers stranded in the country. India suspended all international flights for a week from March 22 and there are indications this measure could be extended.
“We are working with the Indian authorities and with airline companies to organise flights for French citizens currently on a visit in India,” French ambassador Emmanuel Lenain told HT.
The embassy tweeted a message on Tuesday asking French travellers to report on a designated phone number and an email ID.