Six days after the beginning of lockdown 4.0, the Indian government came up with new Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) to fly out those who are stranded in India due to the lockdown.
All such individuals have to apply with the Ministry of Civil Aviation or agencies designated by it, to start with. However, the government has made it clear that only those people will be allowed who are either citizens of those countries that they are travelling to or hold a visa of that country for a duration of a year, or are green card or OCI card holders.
Meanwhile, if there is a case of a medical emergency or death in the family, Indians too can travel abroad taking advantage of this window, provided they have a visa for at least six months.
The stranded individuals making the cut will be flown in the same non-scheduled flights which will be used to bring back stranded Indians from various countries.
Meanwhile if any seafarers are keen to take up job opportunities abroad, they too can avail this facility, provided the names are cleared by the Shipping Ministry.
However, even those who qualify will not necessarily be able to be flown out. It ultimately depends on the country they are travelling to and their recent guidelines of admission of foreign passengers. Only if that box is ticked, will the Civil Aviation Ministry confirm their ticket, says the SOP.
Meanwhile, no prize for guessing that the cost of the flight will have to be paid by the passengers because it’s not an evacuation exercise. Also the passengers will be subjected to necessary medical screening before they can board the flight where only asymptomatic travellers will be allowed. While inside, baic health hygiene and precautions like wearing a mask will be compulsory.