Flight Brings Swabs Of Over 100 Indians From Iran

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NEW DELHI - More than 100 swab samples of Indians in Iran who are suspected of having coronavirus infection were brought to the national capital on Saturday in a flight, which returned to Tehran with nearly 200 Iranians, according to officials.

The flight, which was operated by Iranian carrier Mahan Air, is part of India and Iran's efforts to bring back their nationals in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

The flight from Tehran landed at around 5.30 am and returned at around 10.30 am, an official at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here said.

A senior official at aviation watchdog DGCA told PTI that about 108 swab samples were brought in the flight and nearly 200 Iranians went in the return flight.

Official sources said the swabs would be taken to the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune for tests.

Based on the outcome of the tests, Indians in Iran who have tested negative for coronavirus infection are expected to be brought back to India.

However, on Friday, officials said around 300 swab samples of Indians suspected of having coronavirus infection would be brought in a ferry flight from Tehran.

There are about 2,000 Indians in Iran, one of the countries which has been severely affected by the coronavirus outbreak. A similar number of Indians are also there in the Persian Gulf country.

On Friday, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said evacuation of Indians from Iran was being planned in consultation with the health ministry and the Iranian government.

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