IAF brings back first batch of 58 Indian pilgrims from coronavirus-hit Iran; swab samples of 529 arrive for tests

Fifty-eight Indians were brought back home from coronavirus-hit Iran in a military transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) on Tuesday

Press Trust of India March 10, 2020 15:26:25 IST
IAF brings back first batch of 58 Indian pilgrims from coronavirus-hit Iran; swab samples of 529 arrive for tests
  • Fifty-eight Indian pilgrims were brought from Iran in an Indian Air Force C-17 Globemaster

  • IAF spokesperson Group Captain Anupam Banerjee said the aircraft evacuated 25 men, 31 women and two children

  • It brought swab samples of 529 Indians to carry out laboratory tests and check whether they carry coronavirus infection

New Delhi: Fifty-eight Indians were brought back home from coronavirus -hit Iran in a military transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) on Tuesday.

The aircraft, a C-17 Globemaster, was sent to Tehran from Hindon airbase near Ghaziabad on Monday evening.

IAF spokesperson Group Captain Anupam Banerjee said the aircraft evacuated 25 men, 31 women and two children. It brought swab samples of 529 Indians to carry out laboratory tests and check whether they carry coronavirus infection.

About 2,000 Indians are living in Iran, a country that has witnessed increasing numbers of coronavirus cases in the last few days.

The official said the Indian citizens who have returned from Iran have been quarantined at a medical facility in Hindon.

"The IAF has activated necessary medical protocols and has put required facilities in place to provide fellow citizens with adequate care and support," Banerjee said.

Soon after the C-17 Globemaster arrived at Hindon airbase, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar tweeted, "The IAF aircraft has landed. Mission completed. On to the next."

The external affairs minister said the government was working on bringing back more Indians from Iran.

Iran is one of the few countries which are reporting sizeable number of coronavirus cases. According to latest reports, over 237 people died of coronavirus infection in Iran while number of positive cases crossed 7000 mark.

It was the second such evacuation by the C-17 Globemaster in the last two weeks.

"Thanks to the efforts of our Embassy @India_in_Iran and Indian medical team there, operating under challenging conditions. Thank you @IAF_MCC. Appreciate cooperation of Iranian authorities. We are working on the return of other Indians stranded there," Jaishankar tweeted.

On February 27, as many as 76 Indians and 36 foreign nationals were brought back from the Chinese city of Wuhan by the aircraft of the Indian Air Force.

The C-17 Globemaster is the largest military aircraft in the IAF's inventory. The plane can carry large combat equipment, troops and humanitarian aid across long distances in all weather conditions.

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