The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday said it's preparing to evacuate Indian students and nationals stranded in Italy due to the outbreak of coronavirus. “We are planning to evacuate the next batch of Indians from Italy this weekend, further details are being worked out with the Civil Aviation Ministry,” Dammu Ravi of the MEA said. Meanwhile, a Civil Aviation Ministry official told news agency PTI that an Air India flight will leave for Rome on Saturday and return the next day.
On Sunday, a special flight of Air India carrying 211 Indian students and eight other passengers, who were stranded in coronavirus-hit Italy after flights were cancelled, landed in Delhi. Giving further information, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan had said that all of them are being quarantined for 14 days.
218 Indians including 211 students from Milan landed in Delhi. All will be quarantined for 14 days. GoI is committed to reach out to Indians in distress, wherever they are!— V. Muraleedharan (@MOS_MEA) March 15, 2020
Appreciate Govt. of Italy for their support and team @IndiainItaly @cgmilan1 @airindiain .@DrSJaishankar
Ravi also said, "We have evacuated 590 people from Iran where the situation is very severe. Indians infected with coronavirus in Iran have been segregated and taken care of very well. We believe they will recover and we will bring them back.” Italy is one of the worst affected countries due to COVID-19 pandemic reported 475 news cases on Wednesday. Italy has been on lockdown for almost two weeks as authorities try to halt the progress of the virus. At least, 3000 people have died in the country due to the deadly virus.
The Health Ministry on Thursday said that India had not reported community transmission of the novel coronavirus so far. "These things create panic in the minds of people," Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said. India's death toll rose to 4 on Thursday after a 72-year-old man died of novel coronavirus infection in Punjab. The man had recently returned from Germany via Italy.
(With agency inputs)