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In one of the country’s largest evacuation exercises, ‘Vande Bharat Mission’ is aiming to bring back almost 14,800 citizens who are stranded all across the globe during this COVID-19 lockdown. Over the course of this week, from 7 May till 13 May, the government will run 64 flights to bring the stranded home.
15 Points You Ought to Know:
- Scheduled flight: 10 flights to UAE, 7 flights each to the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Malaysia and Bangladesh, 5 flights each to Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Kuwait and Philippines, 2 flights each to Qatar, Oman and Bahrain.
- The national carrier Air India has been given permission to conduct this operation and the passengers will be charged for the ticket prices.
- The MEA will give two days notice to the travellers with the schedule of day, place and time of arrival of the incoming flight on its website.
- Of the 64 flights scheduled, 15 flights from 7 countries will operate from Kerala, 11 flights from Delhi, 3 flights from Jammu and Kashmir and 1 flight from Lucknow.
- Upon arrival, all passengers will be mandatorily subject to a 14-day quarantine, and the cost will be borne by the passenger.
- This quarantine will happen either in a hospital or in an institutional quarantine facility. After the 14-day period, another COVID-19 test will be conducted before the travellers will be allowed to leave.
- Those passengers landing in Kerala will have to undergo seven days of quarantine in a government-sponsored facility. On the seventh day, they will be subjected to the RT-PCR test and those who test negative will be sent home for another week of quarantine.
- Priority will be given to migrant workers/labourers who have been laid off, short term visa holders who are facing issues of expiration of visas, persons with medical emergencies, pregnant women, the elderly, students and those who are required to return due to the death of a family member.
- It is also mandatory that all travellers download and use the Aarogya Setu mobile app, which will help in keeping track of movements.
- If you are an Indian national stranded abroad, then make sure you contact the Indian embassy or consulate to get your name on the list. Air tickets will only be issued to those on the list.
- As there were almost 2,00,000 registrations from the US alone for travelling back, the process could take longer than expected.
- Those who wish to return to India should test COVID-19-negative before they board the flight.
- The Indian Navy will also be used to evacuate people from the Maldives and the UAE.
- Three naval ships have been assigned for this operation. While INS Jalashwa and INS Magar has been sent to the Maldives, INS Shardul is on its way to Dubai.
- All passengers will be given PPE so that they are also “protected” during the flight.
You can click here to access the Flight Plan for Return of Indian Nationals Stranded Abroad document issued by the Ministry of External Affairs.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)