Fifty-eight Indians, including 25 men, 31 women and two children, were brought back home from coronavirus-hit Iran in a military transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) on Tuesday. All the evacuees have been quarantined at Hindon airbase near Ghaziabad. "IAF has activated necessary medical protocols & has put required facilities in place to provide fellow citizens with adequate care and support," an IAF spokesperson informed on Tuesday.
The aircraft, a C-17 Globemaster, was sent to Tehran from Hindon airbase near Ghaziabad on Monday evening. The aircraft 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. 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.
Four days ago, a Mahan airline plane brought swab samples of 300 Indians from Iran to India for laboratory testing.
(With PTI inputs)