Arrangements being made to facilitate return of Indians stranded in Iran

MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar

Arrangements are being made to facilitate the return of stranded Indians from Iran in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak through normal civil aviation channels, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday.

MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said as of now there are no Indians infected with the virus in Iran. He also said Indian Embassies across the world are on the job wherever there has been an outbreak of coronavirus.

The Indian Embassy in Iran was putting out regular updates and the mission continues to be in touch with all the Indians in that country, including fishermen, he said.

Earlier, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said an Indian medical team was reaching Iran to set up its first clinic at Qom by the evening to start screening for coronavirus.

Asked about reports that 495 Iranian tourists in India are untraceable, Kumar said MEA has not received any information about it from the Iranian Embassy.

"The tourists we are talking about have been here before coronavirus outbreak and they can't return as no flights are operating between the two countries at present. They will leave once the flights resume, there should be no panic," he said.

Kumar also said the Indians in Iran are being advised to follow the health protocol as given out by the WHO and local authorities.

"Our mission has opened a 24/7 helpline. Arrangements are being made to facilitate the return of stranded Indians from areas of concern through normal civil aviation channels," he said.

"We need good cooperation from Iranian authorities so that an appropriate screening process can be set up before the Indian nationals can be facilitated to take those flights back home," he said. Asked if India will impose further travel restrictions, Kumar said it is an evolving situation.

On the overall preparedness to tackle the coronavirus issue, Kumar said Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself is personally taking a lot of interest in the preparedness of India to deal with the situation.

"There is a group of ministers, regular meetings are being held, both Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Health are deeply involved. Our Embassies across the world are on the job wherever you have a certain number of cases. They have opened 24/7 networks for people to connect to them," he said.

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