National carrier Air India, which has evacuated Indians from coronavirus-hit areas like China, Japan, Italy and Iran, is set to play the saviour again. ANI reported that Air India is scheduled to fly out over 300 Israeli nationals from New Delhi to Tel Aviv on Friday.
ANI reported Air India would use a Boeing-777 jet, which can carry over 300 passengers. The Air India jet will return with Indians stuck in Israel.
The news of the Air India evacuation flight comes after Israel's Consulate General in Mumbai said several of its nationals in India were looking to fly out after the nationwide lockdown was announced. The Consulate General's Twitter handle announced on Wednesday, "The team @israelinMumbai is making constant efforts to help & find a solution for the #Israelis that want to reach back to #Israel safely...”
Economic Times quoted an official as saying, "“We are doing such flights on the request from the government (external affairs ministry)."
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Wednesday the country would have to impose a full lockdown as the number of coronavirus patients climbed 2,369.
"The steps that we have taken here in Israel are being taken all over the world; however, they are not enough because the number of patients is doubling every three days. In two weeks, we are liable to find ourselves with thousands of patients many of whom will be in danger of death," Netanyahu was quoted as saying by The Jerusalem Post.
“Therefore, I am already telling you... that if we do not see an immediate improvement in the trend, there will be no alternative but to impose a complete lockdown, except for essential needs such as food and medicines. This is a matter of a few days. We are making all of the requisite preparations—logistical and legal," Netanyahu said.
A total of five people have died of the coronavirus in Israel.
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This week, the Israeli government announced new restrictions including people not going more than 100 metres from their homes, reduction in public transport and reduction in numbers at weddings and other events.