First two flights carrying Gulf evacuees reach Kerala, beginning India's largest repatriation mission
Kerala has put in place nearly 300,000 quarantine beds, ultraviolet tunnels in airports, measures to disinfect passenger luggage
None of them have shown covid-19 symptoms so far and they are being shifted to quarantine facilities in their home districts, according to the airport officials
ERNAKULAM : Two Air India flights carrying 359 expats stranded over the covid-19 pandemic in the Gulf region touched down in Kerala's Cochin International Airport in Ernakulam district and Calicut International Airport in Malappuram district on Thursday night, beginning what is seen as the largest repatriation exercise India has ever undertaken and codenamed as 'Vande Bharat'.
None of them have shown covid-19 symptoms so far and they are being shifted to quarantine facilities in their home districts, according to the airport officials. Everybody is required to be in institutional quarantine for a week accept pregnant women and children who are allows to go home, they said.
Kerala has put in place nearly 300,000 quarantine beds, ultraviolet tunnels in airports, measures to disinfect passenger luggage, as part of preparations to receive those coming home in the midst of the pandemic, state officials said.
Passengers were be given personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves, said additional secretary in the Indian foreign ministry, Vikram Doraiswami, who is in charge of coordinating with Kerala.
The measures are aimed at ensuring that Kerala does not get hit by another wave of infections. However, the government said it has planned ahead to keep the risk to the minimum and will continue its successful tackling of the virus. Kerala reduced active infections from 300 last month to 30 on Wednesday.
An estimated 15,000 stranded expats are expected to be brought back to India from 13 countries, in 64 flights, over the next week. In total, the repatriation could see 200,000 to 300,000 people return from countries such as the US, UK, West Asia, and Singapore.
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