World’s largest evacuation procedure, bringing home 1.8M Indians stranded by COVID-19

by Anshul
a plane flying in the sky

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India is all set to undertake the world’s largest evacuation exercise, a drive to bring home 1.8M citizens back to India. Already in phase 3 (40+ days) of one of the strictest lockdown measures, India will bring home millions of its citizens stuck around the world since the lockdown measures were put in place on March 25th. As of today, India reports 46,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 1600 deaths. Here is a summary of what we know, aggregated from various news media outlets;

India COVID-19 evacuation

  1. The first phase of the evacuation starts on Thursday, May 7th. The operation will be conducted jointly by the Indian Air Force, Indian Navy and Air India. Indian Navy confirmed that three ships (INS Shardul, INS Magar and INS Jalashwa) had already sailed towards the Gulf and Maldives. Whereas, Indian Air Force has prepared about 30 aircrafts, including Boeing Co.’s C-17 Globemaster and Lockheed Martin Corp.’s C-130J Super Hercules, for the mission.
  2. Week 1 of the evacuation is estimated to include 14,000 Indians from 13 countries, in 64 flights. Flights from India will fly to the Philippines, Singapore, Bangladesh, UAE, UK, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, USA, Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait.
  3. Gulf News has shared the entire slide desk from Ministry of External Affairs (COVID-19 cell), with day-by-day breakdown of the Flight Plan for evacuation.
  4. Indians being evacuated will have to pay for these flights, ~$1300 for flights from the US, £500 for flights from UK.
  5. All passengers will be screened and only asymptomatic passengers allowed onboard. Arriving passengers will be quarantined for 14 days, at their own expense, before going through another round of testing.
  6. Evacuation priority will be given to pregnant women, medical emergencies, the elderly, people with bereavement and serious illness in their immediate family, stranded tourists.

It bears repeating that the information above is a collection from several news sources. If you find yourself in a spot where you need specific information on India COVID-19 evacuation, it is best advised to contact the local Indian Consulate or High Commission.

News sources used for the post: BloombergQuint, GulfNews, FinancialExpress, NDTV


Title Image: by Daniel Eledut on Unsplash


Jassi May 5, 2020 - 11:57 am

Its 180,000. Not 1.8 Million

Points Miles and Bling May 5, 2020 - 12:57 pm

Hi Jassi,

UAE alone has received more than 200,000 applications for evacuation, so the total number of people this is intended to help is def above a million. The exact numbers will obviously vary. The 1.8 M reference was taken from BloombergQuint –
Couple more sources confirming the ~1.8M figure;

Greg May 5, 2020 - 10:50 am

The mandatory quarantine rule will mean the majority of rich NRI will refuse to come back.

No one wants to spend 2 weeks in a glorified jail (maybe more if results are positive).

Both pakistan and Indian govts need to allow home isolation like other countries instead of 2+ weeks of jail time, otherwise no one except the very desperate will return.

Points Miles and Bling May 5, 2020 - 1:03 pm

Hi Greg,
The evacuation is not for NRI’s, only for those desperate ones. Those truly stuck or stranded (think students, tourists, temp workers, etc.). Non-Resident Indians (aka, residents of other countries) are not the ones trying to get home.
Your comment about glorified jail is unfair. I have relatives that have been in quarantine upon arrival in India and most were put in specific hotels.


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