India evacuates over 90 citizens stranded in Singapore

India evacuates over 90 citizens stranded in Singapore due to coronavirus travel restrictions

Singapore Airlines carrying Indian nationals in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic stands parked on arrival at Mumbai International Airport, Thursday night, March 19, 2020. (PTI Photo)

India on Thursday evacuated over 90 citizens stranded at Singapore's Changi Airport due to the travel restrictions imposed by the government back home in response to the fast-spreading coronavirus pandemic, the Indian High Commission here said.

Also, due to Singapore's own travel restrictions on visitors coming from or through ASEAN region, these passengers cannot enter Singapore.

The Indian travellers, most of whom had arrived in Singapore from the Philippines and Malaysia, have left for Mumbai on a Singapore Airlines flight.

"Relieved faces at check in! Over 90 Indian transit passengers stranded in Singapore due to travel restrictions in India are on their way home. Quick response from Indian Gov to permit them to return; officers at airport to assist with food, convenience and travel," the High Commission tweeted.

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Earlier in the day, the Commission said it was working out arrangements to put the 97 stranded Indians on a flight back to India.

"We have worked with the Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Civil Aviation to facilitate the return of these Indians back home," India's High Commissioner to Singapore Jawed Ashraf told PTI.

Officials at the High Commission were at the Changi Airport to assist the passengers with arrangements for food, freshening up and other assistance needed in the airport transit area.

Most of the passengers had travelled through Malaysia and faced stringent arrival and departure procedures both in India and Malaysia.

Malaysia has shut its borders, not allowing foreigners in and have also ordered its citizens not to travel.

India has also restricted arrival of passengers from some countries including Malaysia and the Philippines.

The Singapore Airlines agreed to fly the stranded passengers to India, as there is no scheduled Air India flight for Thursday.

India on Monday banned the entry of passengers from Europe, Turkey and the UK from March 18 till March 31 to contain the spread of the deadly virus.

Singapore on Wednesday advised its citizens to defer all foreign travel plans as it reported 47 new coronavirus cases, mostly imported ones, taking the total number of infections in the country to 313.

The coronavirus outbreak has killed 8,809 people and infected 218,631 across 157 countries and territories, according to a tracker maintained by Johns Hopkins University.

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