The centre will start bringing back Indians stranded abroad because of the coronavirus pandemic from May 7 in a "phased manner". Aircraft and naval ships will be arranged for their travel, the government said in a statement, adding the service will be offered on "payment-basis". Only those asymptomatic will be allowed onboard.
"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 read.
"Indian Embassies and High Commissions are preparing a list of distressed Indian citizens. This facility would be made available on payment-basis. Non-scheduled commercial flights would be arranged for air travel. The travel would begin in a phased manner from May 7," it added.
Laying down guidelines for the transit, the government said medical screening of the passengers will be carried out.
"During the journey, all these passengers would have to follow the protocols, such as the health protocols, issued by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Civil Aviation," the centre said.
The government said upon arrival, all the passengers will have to download the "Aarogya Setu" mobile application.
"On reaching the destination, everyone would have to register on the Aarogya Setu app. Everyone would be medically screened. After scrutiny, they would be quarantined for 14 days, either in a hospital or in an institutional quarantine on payment-basis, by the concerned state government. COVID test would be done after 14 days and further action would be taken according to health protocols," the government said.
It has also advised the state governments to make arrangements for testing, quarantine and onward movement of the passengers.
The government had brought back hundreds of Indians from China and Iran in March. However, after it suspended domestic and international flight operations over the growing number of coronavirus cases in the country, the operation was halted. It had said last month that the process could begin after May 3, when the second phase of the lockdown ended.
India on Monday reported 83 deaths. Total number of cases rose by 2,573 to reach 42,863.