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Evacuation flights from Male, Doha land in Bengaluru

Evacuation planes from Male in Maldives and Doha in Qatar landed here with returnees from Karnataka after they were stranded for two months due to suspension of international flights since March 23 and extended lockdown, an official said on Friday.

"An Air-India flight (#0266) with 152 passengers from Male and its subsidiary Express flight (IX-0822) with 177 returnees and 5 infants from Doha landed here safely at 6:50p.m. and 9:05p.m," an airline official told IANS here.

Both the flights are first from the respective countries to Bengaluru, bringing in returnees to the southern state in the second phase of the Vande Bharat mission, being carried out to evacuate Indians stranded the world over.

"As per the standard operating procedure and guidelines of the state health department, all the passengers were screened with thermal device and tested to ensure they were asymptomatic before leaving the airport," a nodal officer said.

The returnees were given a spare mask to wear all the time and a sanitiser to wash their hands.

"The luggage of all passengers were screened and disinfected before handing over to them after they completed formalities such as filling the self-declaration form and downloading of the Quarantine App for contact tracing later, said the official.

The passengers were ferried from the airport in state-run buses in batches for 14-day institutional quarantine in hotels and resorts across the city.

The flights were 6th and 7th to Karnataka of the national carrier and its Express arm, which are operating the service to repatriate thousands of Indians, including distressed workers, migrants, students, senior citizens and tourists, stranded overseas.

Five flights have flown about 650 returnees till date from May 18-21 under the mission's second phase to Bengaluru and Mangaluru on the state's west coast from Dubai in the UAE, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Muscat in Oman, Dammam in Saudi Arabia and fifth from San Francisco in the US west coast.

The remaining flights to Karnataka will land in Bengaluru and Mangaluru over the next 12 days till June 3 from 9-10 more destinations the world over.

In the first phase of the mission from May 7-17, the airline and its arm flew 6 flights to the state from May 11-15, bringing in 800 passengers, including 623 to Bengaluru and 177 to Mangaluru from London, Singapore, San Francisco and Dubai.

Source: IANS
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