The government on Thursday allowed transit arrangements for stranded foreigners and also evacuation of those foreigners who arrived in India after February 15, PTI reported.
The Ministry of Home Affairs said in a notification that these foreigners can be evacuated after they have finished their quarantine period and have tested Covid-19 negative. It said only those foreigners who are asymptomatic will be allowed to leave India.
As of Thursday evening, 53 people have died of Covid-19 in India, and 2,069 have been infected, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
The Ministry of Home Affairs said the decisions have been taken exercising the powers conferred under the Disaster Management Act. It said that some foreign countries have approached India asking that their citizens be evacuated. The ministry said it has been decided that such requests will now be examined by the Ministry of External Affairs on a case to case basis.
If the Ministry of External Affairs endorses such cases, the foreign government concerned will arrange a chartered flight in consultation with the Ministry of Civil Aviation. Following this, the foreigners will be screened for Covid-19. In case some are symptomatic, the standard health protocol will be used to treat them.
The local embassy of the foreign government will arrange the means of transportation from the foreigners’ place of stay to the place from where they will take off for their country. The government of the state or Union Territory where the foreigners stayed will issue transit pass for movement of the vehicle deployed along the transit route.
The Ministry of Home Affairs also issued a Standard Operating Procedure for the release of all persons following the period of their quarantine.
India has banned all international flights from landing in the country, and has also prohibited domestic flights since March 22. The ban on both domestic and international flights has been extended till April 14, the last day of the 21-day lockdown in the country.