COVID-19 Update: Here Is How Indian Government Plans World’s Largest Repatriation Campaign


Massive repatriation is about to start

Further to an update to the ongoing  COVID-19 situation, The Government of India has announced it’s plan for the massive repatriation of Indians living abroad. On May 4th the Indian government has issued a statement regarding the repatriation flights to India. Aircraft and naval ships will be arranged for their travel, Indian embassies are collecting the data of citizens, the government said in the statement.

Positive note for distressed Indians abroad

“Government of India will be facilitating the return of Indian nationals stranded abroad on compelling grounds in a phased manner. The travel would be arranged by aircraft and naval ships. The Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) has been prepared in this regard,” the statement said.

Repatriation flights to start from May 7

Indian Embassies and High Commissions in different countries have started preparing the list of distressed Indian citizens. The travel arrangement will be on a payment basis. The repatriation flights will begin operation on May 7 in a phased manner.

Strict medical screening before travel

Medical screening of the passengers will be carried out before the departure of the repatriation flight or ship. Any passenger with COVID-19 symptoms cannot travel. All passengers will have to follow the protocols including health protocols issued by Ministry of Health and Ministry of Civil Aviation in regards to the COVID-19 situation.

Medical screening and quarantine upon arrival

Upon arrival, all passengers have to register on ‘Aarogya Setu’ app.  This is a mobile application introduced by Indian government meant to test and track the medical status of citizens. Passengers will undergo medical screening at the arrival airport and quarantine thereafter for 14 days in a hospital or in an institutional facility based on the scrutiny. Expatriates will have to pay for the quarantine facilities arranged by the respective state governments.

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First repatriation flight from UAE

The Indian High Commission in the UAE has stated that the first two repatriation flights to India on May  7 will be from the UAE. One flight will operate from Abu Dhabi to Kochi and the other from Dubai to Kozhikode. Those with COVID-19 symptoms will not be allowed to travel.

Registration started in the UAE

The Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi and Indian Consulate in Dubai has started the registration process of expatriates who wanted to go home, in their official website: The repatriation passengers list will be finalized based on the registration and a priority will be given to workers in distress, elderly people, urgent medical cases, pregnant women and to other people who are stranded in difficult situations, stated Indian Consulate in press release. Helpline numbers of Indian Embassy and Indian Consulate in UAE: Abu Dhabi – 0508995583, Dubai – 0565463903, 0543090575.


India had brought back hundreds of citizens from China and Iran in the month of March owing to the COVID-19 situations. However after the airline services were suspended due to the increase in number of coronavirus cases in the country, the operation was halted.

Indians make up the largest expatriate community across the globe. When it comes to the gulf region that number becomes massive. India is the second highest populated country in the world after China. India is home to 1.3 billion people, that is nearly a fifth of the world’s total population. According to India’s Ministry of External Affairs, there are 28 million NRIs and PIOs residing outside India. According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, India is the largest country of origin of international migrants.

Key Takeaways

  • Repatriation Flights to start from May 7
  • Expats need to pay for their travel
  • Medical screening before and after travel
  • Expats with COVID-19 symptoms cannot travel
  • Upon arrival 14 days quarantine is mandatory for all
  • Embassies have started registration process
  • Priority for pregnant women, medical cases, elderly, stranded people

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