Wuhan virus: 14-day quarantine mandatory, pay for journey, MHA issues travel SOP for stranded Indians

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New Delhi, May 05: The sudden enforcement of countrywide lockdown had stranded many Indian nationals abroad but on Tuesday, the Home secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla has issued the set of guidelines to bring back Indians stranded abroad.

According to the Home Secretary, the aviation ministry will send a special aircraft to bring the trapped Indians in many countries of the world. In addition, Indian Navy ships can also be sent.

โ€œHowever, those returning to India will have to bear their own travel expenses. After the arrival to the country, 14 days institutional quarantine will be compulsory, which will also have to be borne by the Indians. Not only will this, even after institutional quarantine, 14 days home quarantine be done, which will be monitored by Aarogya Setu App,โ€ Bhalla told.

The Ministry of Home Affairs informed that millions of workers, businessmen, students and tourists were stranded in several countries due to sudden nationwide lockdown and halted of flight operation in view of the transition of Covid-19.

Many of these people are under considerable stress now. Some are about to end their visa period, while others are in poor financial condition. All such people will have to go to the local Indian High Commission and enlist themselves and give their details. On the basis of this complete list, the Ministry of Civil Aviation will arrange for special aircraft, for which it will charge the fare. However, where sea travel is required and the number of people is more, the Navy will send its ships in coordination with the Indian Army. It will also be charged, apprised MHA.

There will be a nodal officer in all the union territories and states, through which the return ticket will be issued only after scrutiny. The person concerned will be informed two days in advance for the arrival. Health tests will be done at the places of beginning and ending of the journey, informed MHA.  

The officer told that meanwhile, if Covid-19 symptoms will be found in travellers, they will be sent directly to the hospital. However, if they found to be healthy, institutional quarantine will be necessary in their home state or home district. It has also been clarified here that Person of Indian origin (POI) card holders or Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card holders will not be allowed to travel for now. They will be able to travel only when the ban on regular flights operation is lifted. Those who have gone abroad illegally and have been living there illegally for a long time will also be allowed to return only after completion of the process according to the law there.

The ministry said that priority will be given to bringing back pregnant women, the elderly, stressed workers and those whose visas have expired, medical reasons or who have died in their ancestral home in India. Prior to return, everyone will undergo a primary corona check and will be allowed to travel only if they do not achieve the target. Before returning, a declaration will also have to be signed that it will follow 14 days of institutional quarantine and 14 days of domestic quarantine.