Another 205 Indians arrive from Iran

New Delhi, March 18 (IANS) The government on Wednesday evacuated another batch of 205 Indians from Iran, where 988 people have died due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A flight of the Mahan Air landed in New Delhi this morning with Indian passengers, mostly Shia pilgrims from Ladakh who were stranded in Iran, official sources said.

Of those who returned, 115 are male, 85 female, four children and one infant. Some of them are Non Resident Indians as well.

So far 591 Indians have been evacuated from Iran.

Sources said, all the passengers were sent to a quarantine facility of the Indian Army in Jaisalmer.

Over 16,000 people in Iran, including around 250 Indian pilgrims have tested positive for coronavirus. India has sent a team of health professionals for their treatment.

There are over 6,000 Indian nationals in various provinces of Iran. Of them, there are about 1,100 pilgrims mainly from the Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir and the state of Maharashtra and nearly 300 students primarily from Jammu and Kashmir.

Around 1,000 fishermen from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat and others stay in Iran earning their livelihood and for religious studies.

The Shia-dominated Iran is badly hit by the outbreak of the virus which originated in Wuhan, China, because of its initial negligence. Even as the some of the early patients were found in Qom, the Shia holy place, over 100km southwest of Tehran, the religious pilgrimage remained open.

Chinese students, pilgrims and businessmen visit Qom regularly. Though China began a lockdown in January, travel between the two countries continued. On Monday however, authorities shut down its mosques and shrines in Qom and Mashhad.



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