Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami on Friday wrote to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, seeking support for 300 fishermen from the state who are reportedly stranded in Iran. Iran has seen a drastic spike in coronavirus cases recently, with the death toll due to the disease climbing over 20. There were over 200 confirmed cases of the deadly disease as of February 28 in Iran, sparking concerns about the status of Indian fishermen in the region.
â€śI bring to your kind attention the plight of around 450 fishermen from India including 300 fishermen from Tamil Nadu who are working in various fishing vessels berthed and operating in various ports of Iran. These fishermen are reportedly stranded in Port Kish, Cheeru and other places in Iran, due to the cancellation of flights, because of the outbreak of Corona Virus in Iran. The fishermen are requesting to evacuate them from Iran immediately,â€ť the Chief Minister wrote in a letter on Friday.
He added, â€śI request your good office to direct the Embassy of India in Iran to provide the required support to the fishermen and also to make arrangements for their safe and immediate return to India.â€ť
On Thursday, there was a sudden rise in the number of deaths due to the COVID-19 epidemic in Iran, with seven people dying of the disease within a span of 24 hours. Over 100 cases were confirmed on Thursday, making Iran the country with the highest number of infected cases, outside China.
Beginning Thursday, India suspended all flights from Iran. The Indian Express reported that around 250 Indian students are stranded in the country.
In an advisory on February 25, the Indian embassy told Indian nationals in Iran that they are â€śclosely monitoring the evolving situation in Iranâ€ť.
â€śAll Indian nationals should observe advisories issued by Iranian authorities and World Health Organisation (WHO). All Indian nationals are requested to observe necessary hygiene sanitation measures, including wearing masks, and avoid going to crowded places and public gatherings. It is important that you remain calm, maintain caution and not fall prey to rumors,â€ť the advisory said.