Male [Maldives], May 8 (ANI): The Indian Navy's amphibious warship INS Jalashwa has begun full-fledged preparations to receive some 750 Indian nationals onboard, who will be repatriated back home in Kochi under Operation Samudra Setu.
Passengers are undergoing necessary procedures at Velana Airport, as per regular updates posted by the Indian High Commission in the Maldives on its official Twitter page.
It said that the passengers will, thereafter, be ferried to the Male' port to board the Navy ship.
People have also been urged to maintain social distancing norms as immigration officials and volunteers have put on full safety gears as a necessary precaution to keep away from the coronavirus.
In addition, the Indian nationals will also be charged 600 Maldivian Rufiyaa or an equivalent amount of USD 40 as the evacuation service charge, the High Commission of India in the Maldives said in a statement.
"This amount would be collected at the service fee collection counter after completion of the immigration process at the Velana International Airport," the statement read.
"Kindly carry exact change to avoid delay and inconvenience," it added.
This is the first batch of stranded Indian nationals who are being evacuated by the Indian Navy, the Maldives being the first country.
INS Jalashwa will depart from Male port later today.
The Navy will be evacuating around 2,000 Indian nationals from the Maldives from today.
"The evacuation operation will be conducted in two phases, first to Kochi (Kerala) and second to Thoothukudi (Tamil Nadu). It will be a big relief for Indians here," Indian envoy to the Maldives, Sanjay Sudhir, said on Thursday.
The Indian Navy's amphibious warship, INS Jalashwa, arrived in Male on Thursday to bring back 1,000 Indian citizens, at a time, who have been stranded in the island nation due to the COVID-19 lockdown put in place to check coronavirus spread.
Another amphibious warship INS Magar is also on way to the Maldives to evacuate Indian nationals. (ANI)