The third batch of Indians evacuated from Iran– the third-worst coronavirus affected country after China and Italy– will land Saturday midnight at Mumbai international airport, health ministry officials said.
“A Mahan Air flight will be bringing back Indian passengers from Iran. The flight will land in Mumbai at midnight today,” ANI quoted Special Secretary from the ministry of health Sanjeeva Kumar.
102 Indian nationals stuck in Iran have been evacuated so far by two special flights on Tuesday and Friday this week, 44 of those who arrived yesterday in an Iran Air flight have been quarantined for two weeks at an Indian Navy facility in Ghatkopar, near Mumbai.
Officials at the airport said the passengers were screened at an isolation unit by the airport health organisation (APHO) team and were handed over to the Indian Navy, which took the evacuees to the Navy Material Organisation, Ghatkopar, where a warehouse has been converted into a quarantine centre with a facility of 100 beds.
Iran is the worst coronavirus affected country in the Middle East with over 600 reported deaths and close to 13 thousand confirmed infections. The Indian government has said that it was working with the Iranian government to facilitate return of around 2000 citizens, mostly pilgrims, stuck there after suspension of commercial flights between the two countries.
An Indian team of medical experts is currently testing Indian nationals looking to return home in Iran. Their samples are being tested in India and those found negative are being cleared to board the special flights back home. The experts are also trying to set up a testing lab in Iran itself to expedite the process.
According to the ministry of health at least one more flight carrying Indian evacuees from Iran may arrive either on March 16 or 17.
Another special flight is being sent to bring back Indians from Italy, the second-worst coronavirus affected country after China.
“Another special flight of Air India will be flying today to bring back Indian students from Italy,” health ministry’s Sanjeeva Kumar was quoted as saying by ANI.
The Air India flight is expected to evacuate 220 students from Italy. A team of medical experts from India has already begun testing citizens before clearing them for evacuation.