Health Ministry Officials on Wednesday informed that they will send a team of Doctors to Italy to collect swab samples of stranded Indian students for testing.
India will send team of doctors to Italy to collect swab samples of stranded Indian students for testing before they are brought back: Health ministry officials— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) March 11, 2020
When asked about the response from the Indian Embassy, the stranded Indians stated that the Embassy was discussing the matter with the government, but so far there was no word from them. They also informed that the Air India staff was unwilling to let the students board the flight.
Earlier on March 5, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had issued a travel advisory asking those arriving in the country from coronavirus-affected Italy and South Korea to obtain a certificate showing them having tested negative for the virus. The advisory came into force on March 10 and is a temporary measure till cases of COVID-19 subside.
A registered nurse by profession, Madhu stated that looking at the current scenario in Italy, it is impossible to get a medical certificate and also informed about expiring medical insurance for a lot of stranded students. " Each citizen here has a basic doctor, us students are not provided with a basic doctor because we don't pay tax to the country. Every year they have to pay 150 euros as health insurance, which covers health care. The university has a basic doctor who looks after the students. Since all the universities are now shut, we are not able to get a certificate."
Republic TV on Wednesday spoke to one of the stranded Indians Hemegowda Madhu, who appealed to the Indian Government and the External Affairs Ministry to waive off the COVID-19 free medical certificate requirement for International travelers so that the stranded people can return to India.
"Here in Italy, all the doctors are busy treating people with Coronavirus. Everything here is shut, even a basic doctor is not ready to issue us a medical certificate. Without a medical certificate, Air India or any other airline is not letting us board a plane," he said.
Amid the ongoing Coronavirus scare and at least 10,149 positive coronavirus cases in Italy, over 70 Indian students are stranded at the Milan Malpensa International Airport for over 18 hours now. The Indian students have been denied to board the Air India plane by authorities as they do not have a medical certificate which certifies them of being COVID-19 symptom-free.
The government made it mandatory for people to get a COVID-19 negative certificate in order to enter India, effective from March 10. Cases of Coronavirus in India has risen to 60 as of March 11.