Karnataka gears up to receive 6,100 stranded Indians

A special relief flight of Air India airlifted 99 US citizens stuck, in Hyderabad on Apr 7, 2020. The flight, which took off from Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA), carried the US citizens to Mumbai, from where they will be further connected with Delta Airlines from Mumbai to their final destination in the US. In coordination with the US Consulate and the Telangana State government, a group of 98 adults and one infant US-bound passengers arrived at the airport from various parts of Hyderabad. All these passengers were serviced through the fully-sanitized main passenger terminal building, which has been kept ready for evacuation operations. Special screening and safety measures were in place during the flight's handling to protect against the COVID-19 threat including thermal screening prior to terminal entry, mandatory social distancing enforced through special queuing arrangements at all passenger processing points.The airport, shut for regular commercial operations from March 22, has so far handled three evacuation flights. (Photo: IANS) by .
Air India flight
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Of the 10,823 stranded Karnataka citizens who registered to return to their home state from abroad, 6,100 would fly back soon, with the first batch of 1,200 arriving next week in some six flights to Bengaluru and Mangaluru, an official said.

“As per the information we have from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in New Delhi, 10,823 residents of Karnataka have registered their names and other details in the Indian embassies and consulates in the countries they have been stranded since March 23, for returning to their home state at the earliest,” Additional Chief Secretary Jawaid Akhtar said.

To prevent the coronavirus spread, the Indian government suspended all domestic and international flights since March 23 and banned overseas flights into the country due to the lockdown that was extended twice till May 17.

Of the 10,823 citizens, tourists and visitors are 4,408, students 3,074, migrants and professionals 2,784 and ship crew 557.

“The MEA, however, said of the 10,823 registered, 6,100 have been assessed to return early, with the first batch of 1,200 in 4 Air India flights to Bengaluru and 2 Air India Express flights to Mangaluru next week,” said Akhtar.

Of the 6,100 citizens waiting to fly back, tourists and visitors are 2,380, students 1,660, migrants and professionals 1,503 and ship crew 557.

A special relief flight of Air India airlifted 99 US citizens stuck, in Hyderabad on Apr 7, 2020. The flight, which took off from Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA), carried the US citizens to Mumbai, from where they will be further connected with Delta Airlines from Mumbai to their final destination in the US. In coordination with the US Consulate and the Telangana State government, a group of 98 adults and one infant US-bound passengers arrived at the airport from various parts of Hyderabad. All these passengers were serviced through the fully-sanitized main passenger terminal building, which has been kept ready for evacuation operations. Special screening and safety measures were in place during the flight's handling to protect against the COVID-19 threat including thermal screening prior to terminal entry, mandatory social distancing enforced through special queuing arrangements at all passenger processing points.The airport, shut for regular commercial operations from March 22, has so far handled three evacuation flights. (Photo: IANS) by .
Air India flight

“Though we will prepare to quarantine all the 10,823 returnees in the coming weeks for the mandatory 14 days, we are making arrangements for the stay of 6,100 also waiting to return soon, while hotel rooms have been booked for the 1,200 flying back from May 11-15,” said Akhtar.

Of the 6,100 in queue to fly back, 2,575 are from the UAE, 927 from Saudi Arabia and the US, 414 from Qatar, 328 from Canada and 929 from European and other countries.

According to the civil aviation ministry sources, which is organising the state-run Air India evacuation flights under the “Vande Bharat Mission”, the first flight is likely to land in Bengaluru on May 11 from London (Britain), followed by second from Singapore on May 13, Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) on May 14 and San Francisco (US) on May 15 while two flights to Mangaluru from Dubai are scheduled to land on May 12 and Doha on May 13.

“As per the standard operating procedures of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, though only asymptomatic persons will be allowed to fly back, they will be screened on arrival at the airport for Covid symptoms and sent to hotels of their choice if they test negative and will be tested thrice during their 14-day quarantine period,” asserted Akhtar.

The state tourism department has negotiated with the star hotels in the city for concessional room tariff per day to quarantine the returnees who will pay for their 14-day stay. Guest houses and hostels are also kept ready as a stand-by.
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“All returnees have to download the ‘Arogya Setu App’, ‘Quarantine Watch App’ and ‘Apthamitra App’ in their mobile phones and fill their details as specified and sought. They will also be stamped on the back of their left palm for 14-day quarantine period after filling a self-declaration form,” reiterated Akhtar.

The state government has also allowed mobile service operators to provide sim cards to the returnees for activating their mobile phone for local connectivity in case they don’t have it in the arrival lounge of the airport terminal.

“Wearing of mask all the time, washing hands with sanitizer and maintaining 2-feet physical distance will be mandatory at the airport on landing till leaving for the hotel where they have to stay for the quarantine period,” added Akhtar.

In the event of the returnees showing the virus symptoms, they will be sent to the designated Covid health care centre for 14-day treatment, followed by another 14-day self-isolation at their home when discharged on recovering.

The state government is also making arrangements to receive the ship crew at Mangaluru and Karwar seaports on the state’s west coast and quarantine them after screening at the port of entry.

Bengaluru: Bengaluru Traffic police personnel awareness campaign for public using sanitation and hand wash COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak in Bengaluru on March 20, 2020 (Photo: IANS) by .
Bengaluru Traffic police personnel awareness campaign for public using sanitation and hand wash COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak in Bengaluru. (Photo: IANS)

Mangaluru is 350km and Karwar 525km west of Bengaluru in the state.

If the returnees are residents of other cities and towns across the southern state or neighbouring states, they have to arrange own vehicle to travel after the quarantine period, keeping in view the guidelines of social distancing, wearing mask and using sanitizer during the journey and till they reach home.

Also Read – VANDE BHARAT: How India Launched The Mega Mission?