Coronavirus lockdown: India allows transit arrangement for stranded foreign nationals | The Daily Star
11:15 PM, April 02, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:24 PM, April 02, 2020

Coronavirus lockdown: India allows transit arrangement for stranded foreign nationals

India tonight decided to allow transit arrangements for foreign nationals who are stranded in the country following the coronavirus outbreak and the ongoing nationwide lockdown.

The move may facilitate the return of stranded Bangladeshis in India and Indian nationals in other countries who would want to go return to India after the lockdown ends, reports our New Delhi correspondent.

India also allowed the evacuation of those foreigners who arrived in India post-February 15 at the end of their quarantine period and who tested negative for Covid-19, Indian Home Ministry officials said.

The officials said only those foreign nationals would be allowed to leave India who are asymptomatic for the contagion.

In an order, the Indian Home Ministry said the decisions have been taken exercising the powers conferred under the Disaster Management Act after it was brought to its notice that a number of foreign nationals are stranded in different parts of the country due to the lockdown measures.

The Home Ministry order also said the local transportation arrangements from the place of stay of the foreign nationals to the point of embarkation on the flight would be arranged by the local embassy or consulate of the respective foreign government.

The transit pass for the movement of the vehicles deployed for the movement of the foreign nationals would be issued by the state government or the authorities of the federally-ruled territory where the foreign nationals are staying, according to the order.

Some foreign countries have approached the Indian government for evacuation of their nationals.

In view of these, it has been decided that requests received from foreign governments, for evacuation of their nationals from India, would be examined by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on a case-to-case basis, the order said.

In cases where such requests are endorsed by the MEA, the Home Ministry said that the following protocols would be observed:

-- The chartered flight would be arranged by the concerned foreign government in consultation with the Indian Civil Aviation Ministry.

-- Prior to departure, the foreign nationals would be screened for Covid-19 symptoms according to standard health protocol.

-- In case of symptomatic persons, the future course of treatment would be followed, as per the standard health protocol.

The Bangladesh diplomats stationed in New Delhi are in touch with Indian authorities over the issue of sending back stranded Bangladeshis, many of them being in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai for medical purposes, and some in other parts of the country following the lockdown.

Many of these Bangladeshis are running out of cash and face expiry of their visas.

Earlier on Monday, the Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Md Imran held a meeting with his colleagues on how to go about repatriating the Bangladeshis.

Contacted, Farid Hossain, minister (Press) in Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi, said, "This is good news for our efforts to send back the Bangladeshis who are stranded in India following the Covid-19 outbreak and the lockdown."

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