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| 21 September, 2020, 01:02 PM IST | E-Paper
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      Iran's Mahan Air is expected to bring back today next batch of Indians who tested negative; situation in Iran ‘very, very grave’, says additional secy

      “There are over 6,000 Indian nationals in various provinces of Iran. These include about 1,100 pilgrims mainly from the Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir and the State of Maharashtra; nearly 300 students primarily from the UT of Jammu and Kashmir; about 1000 fishermen, including from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat,” Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said.

      Of the 276 infected Indians overseas, 255 are in Iran, 12 in UAE, five in Italy, and one each in Hong Kong, Kuwait, Rwanda and Sri Lanka, MEA said. India has evacuated a total of 590 people from Iran. While 201 Indians were evacuated on Wednesday alone, 53 Indians had returned from Iran on Monday, ET has learnt. They all have been quarantined in Jaisalmer.

      This comes a day after over 230 Indians were brought back from Iran to New Delhi and quarantined at the Indian Army Wellness Centre in Jaisalmer, the third batch to be evacuated from that country.

      The returnees, 208 hailing from Kargil and 17 from Leh, were airlifted from Jodhpur to Leh and were subjected to screening by a medical team on their arrival at Leh airport, the officials said. They were evacuated from coronavirus-hit Iran by a special plane on March 25 and were put under quarantine at various facilities in Rajasthan.

      The first batch of 58 Indian pilgrims were brought back from Iran on Tuesday. An official told PTI that the Iran Air flight landed at the Mumbai airport at around 12.08 pm. The passengers would be taken to Jaisalmer on an Air India aircraft, another official said. On Thursday, a Defence spokesperson said around 120 Indians would be brought to Jaisalmer and quarantined.

      The American vessels included the USS Paul Hamilton, a Navy destroyer, the USS Lewis B. Puller, a ship that serves as an afloat landing base, and the USCGC Maui. The ships were operating with U.S. Army Apache attack helicopters in international waters, the statement said.

      "First batch of 58 Indian pilgrims being brought back from #Iran. IAF C-17 taken off from Tehran and expected to land soon in Hindon," External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar informed a little while ago.

      India is in touch with Iran on possible evacuation of Indian pilgrims and students stuck in the coronavirus-hit nation, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan had said in the Parliament last Thursday. An estimated 1,200 Indians, mostly students and pilgrims, are in Iran currently.

      Accordingly the Embassy of Iran facilitated and issued expeditiously the visa for the visit of 6 experts from the Indian Council of Medical Research and Ministry of Health of India to Tehran and took the necessary steps to fulfill their mission, according to a statement released on Friday.

      A flight from Iran is expected to land in the country tonight and would be bringing around 300 swabs of Indians there who are suspected of having coronavirus.

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