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Kochi, May 7, 2020
Marking the beginning of what could turn out to be one of the biggest air evacuation exercises by any country, the first Air India Express flight carrying 177 passengers from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) landed here this evening.
The flight had taken off for Abu Dhabi from here earlier in the day to bring back Indians stranded in the Gulf state due to the lockdown imposed in both countries to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
About half an hour later, the second flight landed in Kozhikode, carrying 182 Indians, including five children, from Dubai.
The Kochi airport has been under tight security since the morning and a mock drill was conducted in the afternoon to ensure that everything was in place as per the health protocols keeping in view the COVID-19 situation.
As many as 2,000 plastic chairs have been put up at the airport premises and more than a dozen counters have been opened.
All incoming baggage will be disinfected, before handing them over to the people.
Among those who have landed in Kochi are 49 pregnant women and four children. According to the protocol, all pregnant women and kids will be sent to their homes where they will be quarantined for 14 days. Those with underlying health issues will be moved to the hospitals for further treatment.
The remaining will be moved to the coronavirus care centres in their respective districts while anyone showing any COVID-like symptoms will be taken to dedicated coronavirus hospitals here.