This is Indian Navy’s first massive evacuation exercise from foreign soil during the COVID-19 lockdown.

698 Indians stranded in Maldives reach Kochi port onboard Indian Navys INS Jalashwa
Coronavirus Coronavirus Sunday, May 10, 2020 - 17:31

The Indian Navy’s ship INS Jalashwa, carrying 698 repatriated Indian citizens from the Maldives, arrived at Cochin Port in Kerala’s Ernakulam district on Sunday morning. This is Indian Navy’s first massive evacuation exercise from foreign soil during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The ship arrived in Kochi at 9.30 am on Sunday. The group comprises 595 male and 103 female passengers. Of this, 14 are children below 10 years of age and 19 are pregnant women.

“Though most passengers are from Kerala and Tamil Nadu, there were repatriates of 18 other states and Union Territories also in the ship, which began its journey from Male to Kochi on Friday night,” said a statement by Cochin Port Trust (CPT).

The group consists of 440 people from Kerala, 187 from Tamil Nadu, nine from Telangana, eight each from Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, seven each from Uttarakhand and West Bengal, four from Delhi, three each from Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and one each from Goa and Assam.

There are also seven passengers each from Uttarakhand and West Bengal, four from Delhi, three from Puducherry, two passengers each from Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand, and four passengers from Lakshadweep, PTI reports.

The ship has been berthed at BTP Jetty and the disembarkation procedures are being carried out at Samudrika Cruise Terminal.

Passengers showing COVID-19 symptoms were disembarked first, followed by others in small groups. Thermal screening of passengers on arrival is being carried out by the Port Health Organisation.

Meanwhile, one of the passengers who landed in Kochi, told TNM that the journey on the ship was arduous. The passenger, who was earlier stranded in Male, the capital of Maldives, alleged that some bathrooms were clogged.

“The cabin also got wet as the air conditioner started leaking. There was also a shortage of food I think, because the people who at the end of the queue, did not get breakfast on Saturday morning,” the passenger, a doctor from Kerala, alleged.

On arrival, the passengers were given BSNL SIM cards and were made to install the Arogya Setu app on their mobile phones, the statement by Cochin Port Trust said.

Disinfection facilities for baggage and free wi-fi have been made available by the CPT at the Terminal.

TN natives to be sent to home state for quarantine

Ernakulam District Collector S Suhas said that people from Tamil Nadu will be sent for quarantine to their home state as the Tamil Nau government has made arrangements for transportation.

“Tamil Nadu government has arranged seven buses to take the people of the state. We have not received any directions about other state governments so rest of the people will stay in the institutional quarantine centres at Ernakulam,” said Collector S Suhas.

The Kerala natives have been categorized into native districts and they will be transported to their respective quarantine facilities in their districts.

(With inputs from PTI)

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