More than 5,200 Indian nationals died in countries in West Asia and East Asia amid the Covid-19 pandemic between February and August, with the highest number of deaths recorded in Saudi Arabia, the government informed Parliament on Wednesday.
In a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha, minister of state for outside matters V Muraleedharan said, “As per the information to be had with the ministry, right through Covid-19 pandemic, from February 1 to August 15, 2020, 5,286 cases of deaths of Indian nationals were reported in the Gulf and East Asian countries.”
It was once not immediately lucid from the reply how lots of the deaths were because of Covid-19 infections. The questioner, Indian Union Muslim League’s MP K Navaskani, had sought the complete number of deaths of Indian people in Gulf and East Asian countries right through the pandemic.
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The outside matters ministry facilitated the transportation of 1,807 bodies of Indian nationals from West Asian and East Asian countries, while the final rites were performed in the community according to the wishes of families in some cases, Muraleedharan said.
The highest number of deaths – 2,360 – were reported in Saudi Arabia, followed by the United Arab Emirates (1,441), Kuwait (694), Oman (336), Qatar (238), Bahrain (176), China (20) and Japan (14), according to figures given by the minister.
In response to another question, Muraleedharan said eight resident Indians were under quarantine in the UAE, while more than 6,000 Indians were stranded in Iran because of the pandemic.
“In Iran, as per to be had information, there are over 6,000 Indian nationals, including approximately 1,100 pilgrims chiefly from the Union territories of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir and the state of Maharashtra, almost 300 students primarily from Jammu and Kashmir, approximately 1,000 fishermen, including from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, and others who are on long-term stay in Iran for pursuing their livelihood and spiritual studies,” he said.
The government made focussed efforts for the secure return of Indians stranded in Iran and as of March 16, a complete of 389 Indians, including 205 pilgrims and 183 students, were repatriated in four batches on special flights of the Indian Air Force and Iranian airlines, he added.
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“Our consulate in Bandar Abbas has reached out to Indian fishermen who are residing chiefly in the southern provinces of Iran. They’re in good health and have sufficient provision of fundamental supplies. Efforts are being made to facilitate early return of the Indian nationals stranded in Iran after testing them,” Muraleedharan said.
Replying to another question, the minister said as of September 11, more than 1.3 million Indians had returned to India from more than a few countries under the Vande Bharat Mission. India also assisted in the repatriation of more than 110,000 nationals of more than 120 countries who were stranded right through the Covid-19 lockdown, he said.