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March 5, 2020 11:48 pm

Special Flights Between Iran, India For Evacuation Start Friday

Passengers disembarking from a flight at an Iranian airport- Photo credit Reuters

New Delhi: Iran has announced special flights to evacuate its citizens stranded in India after New Delhi suspended regular commercial flights between the two countries due to the spread of coronavirus.

The first flight would land in India on Friday and fly back Iranian nationals the following day.

An Iranian Embassy official has said that one more special flight would be operated day after and carry Indian equipment to Iran for stranded Indian citizens there.

The Indian government meanwhile said a team of medical professionals had reached Iran to carry out tests for the infection on the stranded Indians and those found uninfected will soon be evacuated using normal aviation channels. A date for evacuation was, however, not specified in the briefing held by the ministry of external affairs on Thursday.

According to the Iranian embassy about 2000 Indians, including 250 students and hundreds of pilgrims from Kashmir are stranded in Iran and their evacuation was incumbent on “proper approval” of the Indian authority.

“From tomorrow, special flights will start between Iran and India for the stranded passengers. Over 2000 Indians are stranded in Iran. We can send them back to India only after proper approval of Indian authority,” an Iranian official in New Delhi said.

Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in a tweet on Thursday expressed hope to establish first clinic at Iranian city of Qom by the end of the day (Thursday) saying Indian medical team will reach there in the evening.

“Screening process will start immediately thereafter. Working on logistics of return with Iranian authorities,” Jaishankar said.

His ministry later added that those who test positive will have to stay back in Iran for further treatment as per the international protocols.

Nearly 3,500 cases of Coronavirus have been reported in Iran and at least 107 people have died of it.

According to World Health Organization (WHO) Iranian fight against coronavirus was impressive.

“Iran has one of the best healthcare systems in West Asia,” WHO Representative, Christoph Hamelmann said after his return from Iran last week.

Iran’s Health Ministry has announced that the efforts to contain the novel coronavirus have started bearing positive results.

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