The Indian government announced today that it will start bringing back its citizens who are stuck abroad due to Covid-19 lockdowns from May 7. Indians who have planned to come to India from March 22 have dropped their plans due to the travel ban. Therefore, the government said in a press release, “Government of India will be facilitating the return of Indian nationals stranded abroad on compelling grounds in a phased manner.”
Stranded Indian citizens will be brought back homes via special aircraft, and naval ships but on a payment basis. Indian citizens will first be evacuated from the United Arab Emirates as more than eight million Indians are living in the Gulf countries. According to the government release, Indian Embassies and High Commissions are creating lists of distressed citizens in various countries. Not only will they have to pay for the service, but also undergo medical screen tests before departure and only asymptomatic persons will be allowed to board flights.
As soon as the passenger lands in India, they will have to download the Arogya Setu app and will go through another round of medical screening which will be followed by a 14-day quarantine period. “The state governments are being advised to make arrangements, including for testing, quarantine and onward movement of the returning Indians in their respective states,” the ministry said. Apart from common people, even those in higher positions have been stuck abroad like the Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora in the US.