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Trying to bring back Indians from corona-hit countries: Jaishankar

Posted in Featured, S. Asia

Published on March 16, 2020 with No Comments

External affairs minister of India S Jaishankar has said that India will be sending a team of doctors to Italy for testing its nationals for novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19) and bringing them back even as samples of 529 more people have been brought from Iran.

Talking about Indians stranded in the wake of the outbreak, Jaishankar said in the Rajya Sabha that India has brought back its 58 citizens from Iran and was working with Iranian authorities to operate limited commercial flights for facilitating early return of the others.

“We are hoping to fly in a medical team to Italy .  We will do testing of those people and try to put them on an early flight,” he said. The minister said Iran and Italy were “focal points” for the government as any “worldwide activity” will only add to panic. As many as 529 more samples brought from Iran were being tested at the National Institute of Virolgy, Pune, and those who test negative will be brought back first in the next flights, he said.

“Whoever tests negative will be on the next lot of flights which will come in. Our effort has been to test as many people as quickly we can. The situation in Italy is emerging a cause of great concern. I would like to share with members that steps in this regard have already been initiated,” the minister said.

The minister said there are over 6,000 Indians in various provinces of Iran, which include 1,100 pilgrims, nearly 300 students and about 1,000 fishermen.

Jaishankar said the first batch of 108 samples were received in India on March 7. “These were tested and 58 Indian pilgrims [25 men, 31 women and two children], who tested negative, were repatriated in a special IAF C-17 flight on March 10,” he said.


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