Israel thanked the Indian government for the evacuation of over 500 Israeli nationals from India, in two trips, one each on Thursday and Friday. A special Air India flight was to fly 317 Israeli back home on Thursday followed by another 200 on Friday, said ambassador Ron Malka.
“Today, we’are evacuating 317 Israelis. In another flight tomorrow, 200 more Israelis to be evacuated. Indian govt has helped us a lot, I want to thank them; Israel took drastic measures to fight Coronavirus, the situation there is under control,” he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
The flight carrying the Israelis is to leave from New Delhi’s IGI Airport for Tel Aviv, however, it will not carry any passengers back on the return flight, said another news agency.
The evacuation of Israelis comes close on the heels of similar missions to fly out over a thousand foreign nationals including the Japanese and the Germans on five special flights from Delhi.
Over 150 Japanese nationals were flown out on a special flight that flew in from Tokyo, while four other flights flew out 500 people to Germany, 120 to Ukraine and 240 to two Baltic nations.
Officials said two more special flights to Frankfurt (Germany) and Austria were scheduled from the Delhi airport on Thursday to evacuate 750 people.
The United States and France are also in talks with the Indian government to evacuate their citizens from the country. Over 2000 French nationals are currently staying in India. The exact number of stranded Americans could not be ascertained, but it is believed to be in hundreds.
The US on Wednesday said it was in contact with the Indian government to help find accommodation for American citizens stranded in the country because of the Covid-19 lockdown till the time it can arrange flights to evacuate them. It also advised them to adhere to the lockdown norms during their stay in the country and said it hopes it will be able to arrange for a safe passage for them with the Indian government once the flight arrangements have been made.
The Indian government has imposed a 21-day lockdown from Tuesday midnight to prevent the spread of coronavirus, severely restricting the moments of people and transport.