Ship from Maldives with over 600 stranded Indians to arrive on May 10

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

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.

This is the Indian Navy's first massive evacuation exercise during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The ship is expected to arrive at the Cruise Terminal of the Cochin Port Trust on Sunday between 9.30-10 am, a Defence source said here.

Inspector General of Police Vijay Sakhare said 440 people traveling via ship are from Kerala.

Rest of the passengers are from other parts of the country including Tamil Nadu (187 people), Goa (1), Haryana (3), Andhra Pradesh (8), Assam (1), Karnataka (8), Himachal Pradesh (3), Maharashtra (3), Rajasthan (3), Telangana (9), Lakshadweep (4) are also traveling in the ship.

People from the states including Delhi (4), Puducherry (3), Uttar Pradesh (2), Uttarakhand (7), West Bengal (7), Madhya Pradesh (2) and Jharkhand (2) are also traveling in the vessel.

"All these people, after being 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 P T I.

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.

About 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," Sakhare said.

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

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 in 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.