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New Delhi, May 6, 2020
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Tuesday announced the Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) for movement of persons who are stranded in India because of the lockdown imposed since March 25 to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and who wish to travel abroad urgently for various purposes.
An order issued by the MHA said such persons would have to apply to the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) or to any agency designated by the MoCA for this purpose, along with necessary details, including the places of departure and arrival.
Only those persons shall be allowed to travel to the destination countries who are citizens of that country; who hold visa of at least one year duration of that country; and green card or OCI card holder. In cases of medical emergency or death in the family, Indian nationals holding six-month visa can also be allowed.
Before the tickets of such persons are confirmed, MoCA will ensure that the destination country allows entry of such persons in that country. The conditions, if any, imposed by the destination country will have to be fulfilled by the person intending to travel.
The MHA said travel from India shall be by non-scheduled commercial flights that are being arranged by the MoCA for bringing back stranded Indian nationals from abroad. The cost of travel, as specified by MoCA, will be borne by such travellers.
At the time of boarding the flight, MoCA will ensure that all travellers undergo thermal screening as per health protocol. Only asymptomatic travellers would be allowed to board the flight.
While on board the flight, health protocol as issued by MoCA will be strictly followed. This would include wearing of masks, environmental hygiene, respiratory hygiene, hand hygiene and so on to be observed by airline staff, crew and all passengers, the order added.