INS Jalashwa entering Kochi Harbour with 698 Indians evacuated from the Maldives, on May 10, 2020.
INS Jalashwa entering Kochi Harbour with 698 Indians evacuated from the Maldives, on May 10, 2020.|IANS

698 Indians evacuated from Maldives by INS Jalashwa arrive in Kochi

121 also arrive from Lakshadweep


Kochi, May 10, 2020

A total of 698 people, who were evacuated from Maldives on Indian Naval Ship Jalashwa, arrived here on Sunday around 9.30 a.m., said the Cochin Port officials.

The operation was part of the Indian Navy's "Operation Samudra Setu" to repatriate Indians stuck in foreign countries as a result of the lockdown imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Another 121 from Lakshadweep also arrived at Mattanchery, near here. on MV Arabian Sea -- a passenger/cargo ship sailing under the Indian flag.

The Samudrika Cruise Terminal has been opened for handling the evacuees and the port has made the necessary refurbishments consistent with the medical protocols.

Cochin Port Trust officials said the first group of 698 persons evacuated from Maldives comprised 595 males and 103 females. The group includes 14 children below 10 years and 19 pregnant women.

Among the 698 passengers, 440 are from Kerala, 156 from Tamil Nadu and the rest are from other states in the country.

Ernakulam district collector S. Suhas said all those from Tamil Nadu will be sent to their state in the bus.

The ship is berthed at BTP Jetty and the disembarkation procedures are being carried out at Samudrika Cruise Terminal. It will take around three hours for all the passengers to be cleared.

According to the protocol, all the Keralites will be sent for 14 days institutional quarantine in their respective home districts.

Those who are having exemption from institutional quarantine have to be in home isolation.

The 121 who arrived on MV Arabian Sea from Lakshadweep include students and Keralaites who work on the islands.

The protocol for these 121 passengers is that since they have been checked there, they can go to their homes and be in isolation for 14 days.

The general guideline is that if any one shows any symptoms of COVID-19, they will be directly sent to designated COVID hospitals here.

The distance between Male and Kochi is 493 nautical miles and INS Jalashwa began its voyage to Kochi on Friday evening.

INS Jalashwa is an Indian naval ship attached to the Eastern Naval Command. It was acquired from the United States and was commissioned in 2007.

INS Jalashwa has the capacity to accommodate 1000 troops, and comes equipped with extensive medical facilities, including four operation theatres, and a 12-bed ward facility.