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India’s Big Evacuation Plan Slightly Delayed

PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP/Getty Images)

India’s mammoth repatriation operation has had a setback. Some flights were delayed as crew members are still waiting for their Covid-19 test results to come back, local media have reported.

The first flight heading out to pick people up will now take off at 23:15 local time from the national capital, Delhi, to Singapore on Thursday night. And the second one, a flight from Mumbai to London, is expected to depart on Friday morning.

Nearly 15,000 Indians are expected to return on more than 60 flights from 12 countries over the next week.

Passengers will pay their own fares and be quarantined on return. Indian navy ships are also assisting in the exercise.

India suspended all international travel in March before it went into lockdown to curb Covid-19 infections. The country currently has 33,414 active cases.

Eventually, about 200,000 Indians will be brought back, report local media. If successful, this would be India’s biggest evacuation mission since 1990, when it rescued 170,000 civilians from Kuwait during the Gulf War.

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