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Naval ship carrying 700 Indians stranded in Maldives to arrive on May 10

PTI Kochi | Updated on May 09, 2020 Published on May 09, 2020

This is the Indian Navy’s first massive evacuation exercise during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Ahead of the arrival of a Naval ship with stranded Indians from the Maldives, a top police officer, on Saturday, said all arrangements are in place to facilitate the safe stay of the repatriated Indians, comprising of over 400 Keralites, and people from other parts of the country in the southern state.

INS Jalashwa, participating in Indian Navy’s “Operation Samudra Setu” to bring home Indians stuck in foreign countries due to Covid-19 pandemic, has departed from Male port for Kochi with 698 Indian nationals on board on Friday night.

It is expected to reach here on Sunday. This is the Indian Navy’s first massive evacuation exercise during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Inspector General of Police Vijay Sakhare said 431 people travelling via ship are from Kerala. The rest of the passengers are from other parts of the country including Tamil Nadu (132 people). A few people from states including Goa, Haryana, Arunachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Telangana and Lakshadweep are also traveling in the ship.

“All these people disembarked from the ship will be sent to Institutional Quarantine facilities for 14 days,” Sakhare, who is also the commissioner of the Kochi City police, told PTI.

The Keralite passengers, once cleared by all statutory organisations, would be transported to different districts in KSRTC buses (30 per bus). Police would escort them till their quarantine facilities in every single district, he said.

“The people from other States, they will stay in the quarantine facilities in Ernakulam for 14 days,” said Sakhare who is the in-charge of the operations.

Asked about the transportation of the people from other States after completion of their 14 days quarantine, Sakhare said a decision in this regard would be taken after consultations with the Central and their State governments.

Ensuring safe quarantine

Narrating the steps taken by the state government to ensure safe quarantine of the symptomatic people, the top official said such passengers would be segregated and disembarked first, followed by other passengers (district wise) in batches of 50 persons.

“We have a thermal scanning system at the entry itself. When they get down from the ship, they will be subjected to thermal scanning. If somebody has heightened temperature he or she will be segregated and sent to the hospitals for formal check-up. The hospital will decide if they need to be isolated or sent to the Institutional Quarantines set up by the state government,” said.

Ambulance for transporting symptomatic passengers to quarantine centres are ready, he added.

A majority of the passengers coming via ship from Maldives are migrant labourers. The number of tourists and professionals travelling in the ship are very few, official sources said.

Before arrival at Cochin, on board the vessel, the Navy would get the self e-declaration data filled by all passengers and also identify the passengers symptomatic of Covid-19.

Published on May 09, 2020

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