Thousands of Foreigners Set to Leave for Home Amid 21 Days Lockdown in India
15:14 GMT 26.03.2020(updated 16:15 GMT 26.03.2020)
New Delhi (Sputnik): India is under a 21-day lockdown in an attempt to control the spread of the coronavirus. The authorities have suspended all international and domestic flights until 14 April, leaving thousands of foreign nationals stuck in India.
Germany, France, the US, the UK, Canada, and Afghanistan are all set to evacuate their nationals from India amid a 21-day lockdown.
Between 6,000 and 10,000 foreign nationals will probably be evacuated on special charter flights as the Indian government has cancelled all scheduled international flights until 14 April.
There are believed to be as many as 11,500 French nationals in India and France will be evacuating about 2,000 of them shortly.
Meanwhile, the US and UK are still working on plans for their nationals. Germany is set to evacuate its around 1,000 nationals on a special flight, its embassy spokesperson said.
The US Mission in India is working with the US Department of State and airline companies to arrange flights from India.
"Once these flights are arranged, we will work with the Indian government to arrange, to the greatest extent possible, safe passage to airports for US citizens. We know there is great interest from US citizens in obtaining assistance to depart India, and we are working to support necessary arrangements," the US Embassy has said.
The UK has not announced any special flights yet and is still in the process of collecting information on British nationals in India.
"We will support them and advise them when commercial flights to the UK become available. British nationals who wish to urgently return to the UK should email conqry.Newdelhi@fco.gov.uk with personal details," the spokesperson said.
Taking immediate measures on Wednesday and Thursday, Israel and Russia have already evacuated 317 and 126 nationals, respectively.
"Today, we are evacuating 317 Israelis today. In another flight tomorrow, 200 more Israelis to be evacuated. Indian government has helped us a lot, I want to thank them; Israel took drastic measures to fight Coronavirus, situation there is under control," said Israel's Ambassador to India Ron Malka.
Canada and Afghanistan are also making efforts to help their nationals. Afghanistan has asked its nationals in India to share their information with them in order to schedule flights for them.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a curfew-like lockdown for 21 days from Tuesday midnight, which has left foreign nationals stranded in many parts of the country. The move has been taken in order to contain the spread of coronavirus, which has already infected more than 600 people and claimed 13 lives in India.
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