First flight from Oman to India on May 9

Muscat: As part its repatriation mission to take back Indian citizens stranded abroad due to COVID-19 pandemic, the first flight from Oman to India is expected to take off on May 9.

According to sources close to the Indian embassy in the Sultanate, the first Air India flight will fly to Kochi, in the South Indian state of Kerala with 250 passengers aboard.

“The prioritized list is being finalized in cooperation with other authorities involved in the repatriation process. The first flight will be to Kerala, considering the large number applications from the state”, said the source.

The priority list includes people with medical emergencies including elderly persons and pregnant women, blue collar workers in distress, those who are stranded in the country following expiry of their visa stats and others who have lost jobs.

Starting May 7, India will be evacuating over 1,90,000 people in the first phase of the evacuation starting with the focus on the Gulf region.

Accordingly, India is expected to operate 15 flights from overseas to Kerala, 11 to Tamil Nadu, seven to Maharashtra, 11 to Delhi, seven to Telangana, five to Gujarat, three each to Karnataka and Jammu and Kashmir, and one each to Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.

Although the price of the ticket is not known yet, people who will be repatriated in the first phase would strictly be on a payment basis.

Ending weeks of uncertainty over the return of Indian citizens stranded in the Gulf region including all the GCC countries and elsewhere, the Indian Government on Monday announced the details of its mega plan for phased repatriation from May 7.

According to a statement, after reaching their destinations, the evacuees would have to register on the Indian government’s Aarogya Setu app which has been developed to alert about COVID-19 crisis and alerts regarding it.

After being medically screened, they will be quarantined for 14 days in a hospital or an institutional quarantine on payment-basis by the State governments which will be followed by COVID test at the end of the given period.