New Delhi, Jul 22 (PTI) As many as 3,570 Indian citizens died of COVID-19 abroad with the maximum number of 1,154 deaths reported from Saudi Arabia followed by 894 in the United Arab Emirates, the government told Rajya Sabha Thursday.
According to the details provided by the Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan, 546 Indians lost their lives due to COVID-19 in Kuwait, 384 died in Oman, 196 in Bahrain and 106 deaths were reported from Qatar.
'3570 Indian citizens died abroad, due to COVID-19 as per information provided by our missions/posts abroad,' he said.
The minister provided a list of 70 countries that reported the deaths of Indians.
'We express the deepest sympathy with the families of those who have died abroad due to COVID-19. Missions/Posts abroad maintained contact with the families and extended all possible help for transporting the mortal remains to India or for local burial, as per the wishes of the families,' Muraleedharan said, replying to a question.
'Financial assistance for transporting the mortal remains to India or for local burial was also provided from Indian Community Welfare Fund, where such requests were received,' he said.
To a separate question, Muraleedharan said 60,92,264 Indians were brought back from foreign countries in view of the pandemic under the 'Vande Bharat Mission' till April 30.
Separately, the newly-inducted Minister of State for External Affairs Rajkumar Ranjan Singh said several foreign diplomats in India were affected by COVID-19.
'All possible medical assistance was promptly provided to the diplomatic missions, which requested for such help for their diplomats and family members. The assistance included facilitation in hospitalisation, telemedicine consultations, medicines, vaccination etc,' he said.
Muraleedharan said India has imported 31.5 lakh units of 'Sputnik Component 1' and 4.5 lakh units of 'Sputnik Component 2' vaccine till date.
Muraleedharan said India started external supplies of Made in India COVID-19 vaccines under the 'Vaccine Maitri' initiative on January 20 in the form of grants-in-aid and commercial sales by Indian manufacturers and through GAVI's COVAX facility.
'External supplies were undertaken factoring in domestic production, the requirement of the national vaccination programme and requests for the Made in India vaccines from abroad. The current focus of the government is on the domestic vaccination programme,' he said. To a separate question on foreign assistance received by India during the second wave of the pandemic, he said 52 countries provided aid under the framework of 'government-to-government, private to government and private-to-private' initiatives.
According to details provided by him, India received 27,116 oxygen cylinders and 29,327 oxygen concentrators and 885 metric tonnes of liquid medical oxygen from abroad.
India also received 33,30,187 Favipiravir and 11,06,940 Remdesivir COVID drugs. PTI MPB ZMN