Covid-19: Special Evacuation Flights for Indians Trapped in the US USA To operate this week

WASHINGTON: Special evacuation flights for stranded Indians in the US USA Due to global travel restrictions in place to contain the pandemic, they are more likely to start from San Francisco this week, according to authorities.

While exact dates have not yet been announced, flights could take off from San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Washington DC officials said.

Since large numbers of Indian students and visitors are stranded in the US. USA Due to strict travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, more flights are likely to be scheduled in the coming weeks.

Community leaders welcomed the move by the Indian government, which on Monday announced that special flights that would facilitate the return of stranded Indian citizens abroad for compelling reasons would begin gradually from May 7.

The Indian embassy and its consulates in the United States last week began preparing a list of Indians who plan to travel back home. The list is being prepared through an online registration form.

This is the first time in my memory that the Indian government is conducting an evacuation effort for its citizens in the United States, said Jaipur Foot USA President Prem Bhandari, thanking the Prime Minister. Narendra Modi for the efforts

Bhandari, who had been receiving calls from several stranded Indians, sometimes from students seeking accommodation, or visitors who had run out of medications, last week wrote a letter to Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and Secretary of Civil Aviation Pradeep Singh Kharola, drawing your attention. The serious situation.

In the letter, he said: “There are a large number of students who have run out of money. They don't have a place to stay. What is more concerning is the fact that this uncertainty is affecting his mental and physical health.

Large numbers of Indian visitors, particularly the elderly and parents of those who work in the United States, have run out of their essential medications.

Getting medications, even with traveler health insurance, is often not affordable. “The evacuation flight is the need of the hour. This shows how much this government cares about its citizens, said Bhandari.

In recent weeks, several Indians have contacted the Indian Ambassador to the United States, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, and the aid line established by him, seeking prompt repatriation to his country.

Please start some flights for Indian citizens for humanitarian reasons. We have elderly parents with serious illnesses who are alone and need to be cared for. Please understand our situation and present this to the Indian government, ”one of them tweeted last week.

Take care of students who are under the age of 22, are alone at Penn State University, and want to go home, please arrange air travel and prioritize students and seniors, a student Asha Tiwari wrote on Twitter.

Some people of Indian origin who have (OCI) cards have also sought help to travel back to India.

Please also take care of the OCIs. I am a resident of India and work in India. My family is also in India. I visited the United States for a month and I was stuck here, ”wrote Kranthi Borra.

In a separate letter last week, Bhandari asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to waive the $ 455 visa extension fee given the exceptional circumstances due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The $ 455 visa extension fee (including the $ 85 biometric service fee) imposed by the United States Department of State is further affecting these visitors. As the Government of India is working tirelessly on the expeditious repatriation of its citizens, I sincerely urge you to reconsider the visa extension fee and resign from these charges for humanitarian reasons and as a gesture of compassion, ”he said.

The Indian government in a statement said the passengers' medical examination would be carried out before the flight.

Only asymptomatic passengers could travel, he said. During the journey, all these passengers would have to follow the protocols, such as the Health Protocols, issued by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

Upon arrival at the destination, everyone would have to register in the Arogya Setu app, according to the official statement.

They would all be medically examined. After the scrutiny, interested state governments would quarantine them for 14 days, either in a hospital or in an institutional quarantine for payment. The Covid-19 test would be performed after 14 days and additional measures would be taken according to health protocols, he said.

The ministries of foreign affairs and civil aviation will soon share detailed information.

The coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 1.2 million people and killed nearly 70,000 in the United States, the most affected country in the world.