Coronavirus outbreak: First batch of stranded Indians leaves Iran.
Fifty-eight Indians have been evacuated from coronavirus-hit Iran, one of the worst affected countries in the world by the outbreak, in the first batch brought back to the country, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said this morning.
"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," Foreign Minister S Jaishankar wrote.
In another tweet, he thanked the embassy officials and medical staff for their efforts in ensuring the evacuation. "Thanks to the efforts of our Embassy @India_in_Iran and Indian medical team there, operating under challenging conditions. Thank you @IAF_MCC. Appreciate cooperation of Iranian authorities. We are working on the return of other Indians stranded there," Mr Jaishankar wrote.
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) March 10, 2020
The first batch was brought back in an Indian Air Force aircraft – C-17 Globemaster – which landed at Hindon air force station in Ghaziabad, near Delhi this morning. "Mission completed," Foreign minister tweeted minutes later.
This the second such evacuation by the C-17 Globemaster – the largest military aircraft in the IAF inventory – in the last two weeks. On February 27, 76 Indians and 36 foreign nationals were brought back from the Chinese city of Wuhan, epicentre of coronavirus outbreak, by the aircraft of the Indian Air Force. The plane can carry large combat equipment, troops and humanitarian aid across long distances in all weather conditions.
Hundreds of Indians are stranded in Iran, one of the worst-hit countries in the world by coronavirus outbreak that originated in Wuhan in December. More than 230 people have died, over 3,000 are infected in the country. With 1,945 cases, the capital Tehran remains the province with the most cases.
On Monday, S Jaishankar made a surprise visit to Kashmir to assure the family of Indian students stuck in Iran. "Met in #Srinagar the families of Indian students in #Iran. Assured them that our Embassy @India_in_Iran is monitoring their welfare. We are committed to facilitating their early return to India," he tweeted after the visit.
In India, the total number of coronavirus cases rose to 47 on Monday after a Bengaluru resident, who had recently visited the United States, tested positive for coronavirus.