Coronavirus outbreak: Swab samples of Indians stuck in Iran to reach New Delhi today

FE Online

Swab samples collected from the 300 Indians stuck in Coronavirus-hit Iran are set to reach New Delhi today afternoon. The swab samples will be tested at the capital before these Indian nationals in Iran can be allowed to come back home. The swabs will be carried from Tehran on an Iranian Mahan Air flight.

Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had said on March 6 that India is in an advanced stage of negotiations with Iranian authorities to bring back the Indian nationals. He said that the majority of people stuck in Iran hail from Kargil of Jammu and Kashmir state. According to the minister, they were on a pilgrimage trip but got stuck due to flight suspension between Iran and India following the coronavirus outbreak in Iran.

The Minister for External Affairs S Jaishankar had tweeted on March 5 that New Delhi is negotiating with Tehran on logistics to evacuate its citizens stranded in one of the new epicentres of coronavirus outbreak. Also, India is considering to send back almost 1800 Iranian national from its land following the rampant spread of the virus.

A six-member team of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) scientists have already reached Iran to facilitate the suspects and both governments to arrange a makeshift laboratory in order to screen people before they are allowed to fly back to India. The ICMR team that is there in Iran to test the suspects is equipped to screen at least 600 people. As per few media reports, the Indians who will test positive for COVID-19 infection will be barred from travelling back to India while those who have not been affected by the virus yet will be quarantined at their homes for a period of at least 14 days.

India has managed to successfully evacuate its citizens especially students from China - the country with maximum fatalities from coronavirus outbreak. The MEA led by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has evacuated as much as its 881 citizens from China while most of them were rescued from the Wuhan city of Hubei province where coronavirus first appeared.