6,000 stranded Indians desperate to return from Iran

Indian protesters demand evacuation from Iran during a protest in front of the Indian embassy in Tehran on March 12, 2020. (Photo courtesy: Kayvann Shah)
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Updated 14 March 2020

6,000 stranded Indians desperate to return from Iran

  • Indian nationals protesting in front of their embassy in Tehran demand evacuation
  • Protesters worry prolonged stay increases their risk of infection

PATNA: Kayvann Shah has been camping outside the Indian embassy in Tehran for more than two weeks, waiting for his government to evacuate him and thousands of others from coronavirus-hit Iran.
Over 6,000 Indians have been stranded in Iran. Some of them joined Shah in protest, demanding that they be airlifted from the country where the coronavirus death toll has surged past 500.
“I have been in Iran for the last 20 days and since March 2 I have been visiting the Indian embassy in Tehran, requesting them to help me and my parents reach India, but no action has been taken so far. They just tell us to wait and be in touch through email,” Shah told Arab News from Tehran on Friday.




An Indian national protests in front of India's embassy in Tehran on March 12, 2020. (Photo courtesy: Kayvann Shah)

The dry fruit merchant from Mumbai said he was on a business trip when New Delhi decided to suspend all international flights and restrict entry of people from the coronavirus-affected countries.
“My parents are senior citizens and they need to be away from the country where coronavirus has struck badly, but the Indian government seems to be not caring for us,” Shah said, adding that even China has evacuated its citizens from Iran.
Vishnu and Dhiraj, who are protesting with Shah in front of the embassy, are also in despair.
“Indian government is behaving as if we are not Indians!” Vishnu told Arab News from Tehran.




Indian protesters demand evacuation from Iran during a protest in front of the Indian embassy in Tehran on March 12, 2020. (Photo courtesy: Kayvann Shah)

On Thursday, Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar told the parliament that the government was testing samples taken from the citizens in Iran and would soon operate a limited number of commercial flights to evacuate them.
He said the coronavirus crisis is a serious issue, over which New Delhi is in touch with Iranian authorities.
“As per available information, there are over 6,000 Indian nationals in various provinces of Iran,” he said, adding a team of six health officials was sent to Tehran from India last week to collect the blood samples of the Iran-stranded nationals for testing.
“The first batch of 108 samples was received in India on March 7, and 58 Indian pilgrims who tested negative were repatriated,” the minister said.
However, according to the protesters, the testing process is slow and it would take months for them to be repatriated. “We are getting frustrated,” Shah said.
“Why can’t New Delhi evacuate us first and quarantine us in India as the Chinese are doing. The longer we are in Iran, the higher becomes the chance of us getting infected by the virus.”
According to government data, 81 cases of coronavirus infection have been recorded in India.
Many state governments have shut down schools, theaters and colleges, and banned mass gatherings. New Delhi has also postponed the Indian Premier League (IPL), one of the world’s most lucrative international cricket competitions. 


India closes on Russia toll as coronavirus cases hit daily record

Updated 05 July 2020

India closes on Russia toll as coronavirus cases hit daily record

  • The health ministry reported just under 25,000 cases and 613 deaths in 24 hours
  • The sharp rise came as Delhi started treating patients at a spiritual center converted into a sprawling isolation facility and hospital with 10,000 beds

NEW DELHI: India added a record number of coronavirus cases Sunday, approaching Russia as the world’s third-most infected nation as it opens a mass treatment center in the capital to fight the pandemic.
The health ministry reported just under 25,000 cases and 613 deaths in 24 hours — the biggest daily spike since the first case was detected in late January.
The sharp rise came as Delhi started treating patients at a spiritual center converted into a sprawling isolation facility and hospital with 10,000 beds, many made of cardboard.
About the size of 20 football fields, the facility will treat mild symptomatic and asymptomatic cases.
State government officials fear the metropolis could record more than half-a-million cases by the end of the month.
India’s surge took the total tally to more than 673,000 cases and 19,268 deaths, with the country on the cusp of surpassing badly-hit Russia.
A strict lockdown in place since late March has gradually been lifted, allowing most activities as the economy nose-dived amid the shutdown.
Schools, metro trains in cities, cinemas, gyms and swimming pools remain closed however and international flights are still grounded.
Authorities have made wearing masks mandatory in public places, while large gatherings are banned and shops and other public establishments are required to implement social distancing.
The western state of Maharashtra, the worst-hit state and home to financial hub Mumbai, recorded over 7,000 new cases.
Southern Tamil Nadu state and the national capital New Delhi recorded more than 4,200 and 2,500 fresh cases respectively.
Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai, Tamil Nadu’s capital, are the worst-affected cities.
The national government says it has tackled the virus well but critics allege India is conducting very few tests, leaving the true scale of the pandemic unknown.