Nearly 1,500 Indian nationals, including pregnant women and children, stranded in the Maldives due to COVID-19-induced international travel restrictions have been evacuated from the island nation, Indian High Commission here said on Sunday.
The evacuation of the distressed Indians was carried out by naval ships as part of the 'Vande Bharat Mission'. The Indian government launched the programme on May 7 to bring back Indians who were stranded in various countries due to coronavirus-related restrictions.
Under the phase one of the mission, the government evacuated a total of 6,527 Indians from the Gulf region and from other countries like the US, the UK, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Malaysia and the Maldives.
"1488 and counting! Glad to share that 1488 Indians from 22 states evacuated from Maldives; includes 205 women, 133 pregnant/medical cases & 38 children. Process of evacuation will continue through air to diff. cities and ship/s to TN in coming weeks," the High Commission here said in a tweet.
"It's time to be airborne! Evacuation flights from Male' are scheduled for Bengaluru on May 22 & Delhi on May 23. The Bengaluru flt will carry Indians domiciled in Karnataka & ltd numbers in TN and AP. The Delhi flt will carry Indians domiciled in Delhi NCR, Haryana & Chandigarh," it said in another tweet.
India has been under lockdown since March 25 to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has claimed 2,872 lives and infected 90,927 people as of Sunday. All scheduled commercial passenger flights have been suspended during the lockdown period.
The deadly coronavirus which originated from China's Wuhan city in December last year has claimed 311,821 lives and infected over 4.6 million people, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
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