India allows Dutch jet after passengers stranded

India allows Dutch jet after coronavirus confusion strands passengers

The KLM flight carrying around 120 passengers left Schiphol airport but had to make a U-turn after being told by India to return. AFP

A group of more than 100 passengers stranded at Amsterdam's airport after their flight to New Delhi turned around midair due to confusion over coronavirus rules finally departed for India on Sunday, officials said.

Because of the pandemic, India has imposed a bar on flights from Europe and from Sunday a one-week complete ban on all incoming international commercial flights comes into force.

The KLM flight carrying around 120 passengers left Amsterdam's Schiphol airport late Friday but had to make a U-turn over Russia mid-flight after being told by India to return to its point of departure.

"Today a group of stranded travellers from India have left from Schiphol to go home," said Hans Leijtens, the head of the Dutch Royal Military Police, which deals with borders.

"Good work by the Royal Military Police, KLM, Schiphol and other organisations involved in receiving and taking care of the group in recent days," he said on Twitter.

KLM confirmed the flight was leaving, saying it was a "result of consultations between various authorities", the Dutch news agency ANP reported.

The passengers included a pregnant woman who needed medical treatment on returning to Amsterdam.

Most were forced to camp out at the airport while the problem was resolved as the Netherlands also refused to grant them entry -- most had been transit passengers from the US and Canada.

The Hindu daily had reported that despite the bar on flights from Europe, the Indian foreign ministry originally gave clearance to the KLM flight because the passengers were only transiting through Amsterdam.

But India's Ministry of Civil Aviation thought otherwise and the plane was asked to head back to the Netherlands, the paper said.

India has so far confirmed 258 cases of coronavirus and four deaths. The Netherlands has confirmed 3,631 cases abd 136 deaths.

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