On Monday, the Ministry of Home Affairs in a press statement announced that from May 7, repatriation flights will be sent to bring back Indian nationals stranded abroad will start from the Gulf countries, using both aircraft and naval ships, on the basis of a standard operating protocol. To get a seat on the non-scheduled commercial flight’s payment similar to the rates before the pandemic will have to be made. Moreover, according to sources, naval ships would be used for people who cannot afford air transport.
The first two flights on May 7 will be from Abu Dhabi to Kochi, followed by Dubai to Kozhikode and a naval ship will bring back 700 Indians from Male’ to Kochi the following day.
Last week they were asked to register if they wanted to return and had to provide details of their intended final destination. UAE alone had more than two lakh citizens till Monday night.
Only asymptomatic passengers would be allowed to travel and they will have to download the Aarogya Setu App. Health protocols would be followed in the flight as well-like wearing masks and gloves.
According to sources around 1.9 lakh, people will be brought back in the first phase.
Indians who have applied for amnesty for undocumented workers and are awaiting deportation will get priority.
Moreover, citizens on short term visa, like tourism, students or people with life-threatening medical conditions will get priority.
The ministry of external affairs will issue a public statement giving details of the standard operating protocol.
Once they reach India, the respective state governments will take overall arrangements like testing, a 14-day quarantine and onward movement.