New Delhi [India], April 10 (ANI): Amid the COVID-19 crisis, over 20 thousand foreign nationals have been evacuated to different parts of the world on the request of various governments as of April 9, according to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
"So far, we have successfully evacuated 20,473 foreign nationals as of yesterday. This involves several countries and this is an ongoing process. We are receiving excellent cooperation. It is due to government efforts and all departments along with MHA and State governments are working very hard for it," said Dammu Ravi, AS and Coordinator [COVID-19], MEA, on Friday during the daily media briefing.
When asked about Indians in foreign countries, Ravi said: "We need to assess this situation and then the government will make a decision on how we manage the return of Indians."
"But, our Ambassadors, High Commissioners in all these countries are in regular touch with Indians abroad. They are being guided. There are helplines, and all support is being given to them. The MEA has also set up a COVID control room, where helplines are active," he added.
Punya Salila Srivastava, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Lav Agrawal, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), were also present at the press briefing.
Ravi further said that a Group of Ministers (GoM) had approved the release of the in-demand hydroxychloroquine drug to other countries, after taking into view the domestic necessities and buffer stock.
"A lot of requests on hydroxychloroquine were already there. Several countries have made requests for this particular item and taking into view the domestic necessities, requirements, the domestic stock availability and keeping a sufficient buffer for our own requirement, a decision was taken by the Group of Ministers to release some of the surplus medicine for export purposes," he said.
He added that the first list of the countries have been approved and the products have started to be dispatched. "The domestic necessity and requirement will always be a priority for the government," he assured. (ANI)