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We have a responsibility, cannot bring untested people back to India in an epidemic situation: EAM Jaishankar on evacuating Indians amid coronavirus outbreak

EAM Jaishankar informed that there are around 6000 Indian Nationals in the various provinces in Iran including 1100 pilgrims who are mainly from Ladakh, Jammu, and Kashmir, and Maharashtra.

Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar said in Lok Sabha on Thursday that the Indian government cannot allow anybody to enter the country without being properly tested in this severe coronavirus epidemic situation.

While speaking in Lok Sabha, S Jaishankar said, “Bhagwant Mann Ji raised the issue of 30 students of Punjab who are stuck at Italy airport. I would like to tell you that there are not only 30 students, there are many more from different parts of the country. I need to find a way of helping them and bringing them back.

Stating the concern about the country, he stated that only those who are tested will be able to enter the country in order to avoid the deadly epidemic. He said “We’re all at it. Please understand that we can only bring them back if they’re tested, they’ve to be tested. To test them we’ve started sampling today as we can’t bring back untested people in a very severe epidemic situation as I have the responsibility of this country to worry about.”

EAM Jaishankar informed that there are around 6000 Indian Nationals in the various provinces in Iran including 1100 pilgrims who are mainly from Ladakh, Jammu, and Kashmir, Maharashtra. Nearly 300 students primarily from Jammu and Kashmir. About 1000 fishermen from Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Gujarat and others who’re on longer-term stay visas in Iran pursuing their livelihoods.

Read: Coronavirus outbreak: India airlifts over 300 more citizens from Wuhan, helps evacuate 7 Maldives citizens too

EAM further added, “I visited Srinagar recently and took the initiative of meeting the parents of the students who are in Iran. Their anxiety at this time is completely understandable. I shared details with them about the ground situation and sought their understanding. I assured them that the government will facilitate the earliest possible return of their children and I would like to share with the House that the sampling of these students has begun today.”

On Wednesday, the WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic after 1,18,000 confirmed cases and 4,291 deaths in 114 countries reported. There have been 73 confirmed cases of coronavirus reported in India. The Indian government on Wednesday suspended all the existing visas, except diplomatic, official. UN/International organizations, employment project visas till 15 April.

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