Govt to evacuate Indians from coronavirus-hit Iran: Aviation Minister Puri (COVID-19)

New Delhi: The Goverment of India had started taking measures including screening much before the WHO has termed the Virus outbreak as Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on 30 January, said Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister(I/C), Civil Aviation. Addressing a press conference on coronavirus related issues here today, the Union Minister said that screening of passengers coming from all parts of the world is currently being carried on at 30 Indian airports and 6,49,452 passengers have been screened. Secretary of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, CMD of Air India, Chairman of the Airports Authority of India and Director General of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) were also present.

Puri stated that universal screening of all incoming passengers coming from all parts of the world has begun at Indian airports. After thermal screening, the passengers who show initial signs of fever, are subjected to full testing and further detailed process is carried out. He said that around 70,000 passengers coming to India on a daily basis through airports from different parts of the world are being screened.

The Minister said that the number of people brought back by Air India from Wuhan is 654. Air India also brought back 124 people including 5 foreign nationals, who were on board the COVID-19 infected Cruise Ship Diamond Princess from Yokohoma, Japan. Indian Air Force also evacuated 112 people from Wuhan which included 35 nationals of Myanmar, Bangladesh, Maldives, China South Africa, USA and Madagascar.

He further added that meetings of Group of Ministers are held at regular intervals and four such meetings have taken place. Cabinet Secretary is also taking regular review meetings with all related Ministries including Health, Defence, External Affairs, Civil Aviation, Home, Textiles, Commerce, Pharmaceuticals and other officials including with State Chief Secretaries. The Minister further added that Government of India is in regular touch with WHO headquarters, regional office and country office to get updates on the evolving scenario. 

The Minister said that the Government, industry, and tourism sector are all working in cooperation. He said that all the concerned agencies are in contact with each other round the clock.

The Minister added that the evacuation of Indians from Iran is being planned in consulation with the Ministry of Health and Government of Iran.


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