IAF aircraft brings back 58 Indians from Iran; COVID-19 cases in India rise to 53
11 March 2020
A C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) brought back the first batch of 58 Indians from Iran today, ending days of uncertainty of Indians stuck in the coronavirus-hit country.
About 2,000 Indians are living in Iran, a country that has witnessed increasing numbers of coronavirus cases in the last few days.
First batch of 58 Indian pilgrims being brought back from #Iran. IAF C-17 taken off from Tehran and expected to land soon in Hindon, external affairs minister S Jaishankar tweeted in the morning.
"The IAF aircraft has landed. Mission completed. On to the next," External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar further tweeted.
He thanked the Indian embassy in Tehran, the Indian medical team there, operating under challenging conditions, and the Iranian authorities. “We are working on the return of other Indians stranded there," Jaishankar added.
The aircraft landed at Hindon airbase in Ghaziabad, from where the passengers were taken to a medical facility.
It is the second such evacuation by the C-17 Globemaster in the last two weeks.
On 27 February, 76 Indians and 36 foreign nationals were brought back from the Chinese city of Wuhan by the aircraft.
Reports, meanwhile, said 237 people have died of novel coronavirus in Iran while the number of positive cases stands at around 7,000.
In India, eight new cases were reported across the country on Monday - one each in Bengaluru, Delhi, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Punjab and two in Pune. In Bengaluru, a resident, who had recently visited the United States, tested positive.
In Jammu and Kashmir, a 63-year-old Jammu woman, who had travelled to Iran, was among two patients who were declared "high viral load cases" by the administration during the weekend.
The number of coronavirus affected in India rose to 53 today with six fresh cases reported in Kerala. In Kerala, where a total of 12 cases have been reported in the last three days, about 270 people - who came in contact with coronavirus patients - have been traced. Ninety-five of them are in the "high-risk category," according to officials. Surveillance has been strengthened after fresh cases emerged. "About 1,116 people are under observation, 976 are under home quarantine while 149 people are in hospitals. This includes people with symptoms as well," health minister KK Shailaja told reporters.
The central and state governments have stepped up measures to counter the spread of the virus amid rise in the number of coronavirus cases. The Kerala government ordered all schools in the state to remain shut for the whole of March.
Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said on Monday that over 8.74 lakh passengers coming from foreign countries have been screened. The government has decided not to let any foreign cruise ship to dock at Indian ports, news agency ANI reported. The government had suspended visas and e-visas granted on or before 3 March to people travelling from Italy, Iran, South Korea and Japan after a surge in cases of coronavirus or COVID-19 in these countries.