Italy has recorded the highest number of coronavirus cases outside of China. (File photo)
A group of 218 Indian nationals evacuated from Milan in Italy reached the national capital Sunday morning and were quarantined at the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) facility in Chhawla.
Italy has recorded the highest number of coronavirus cases outside of China. An ITBP spokesperson said the evacuees comprise of 211 students and seven “compassionate cases”, which includes two families, all of whom are Indian nationals.
“They arrived at the facility by 12.30 pm and had nasal swabs taken, which would be tested for coronavirus. We would get the reports by Monday evening. We are following all protocols and are giving them the best possible care,” said the spokesperson.
The evacuees are in the age group of 25 to 30 years, and include 154 men and 64 women. They boarded an Air India flight early Sunday morning from Milan and arrived at the Indira Gandhi International Airport at 9.45 am, after a nine-hour journey.
Officials said the evacuees are from northern Italian cities and towns including Milan, Venice, Bologna, Turin, Genoa, Parma and Pavia. Eleven towns and villages in North Italy’s Lombardy, the region around Milan, and Veneto, which includes Venice, were earlier in a quarantined “red zone” due to the spread of coronavirus. The entire country was declared in the red zone about a week ago.
The evacuees are usually tested for Covid-19 before being airlifted. However, officials said it was not immediately clear if this particular batch was tested. An Air India official said the evacuation process adapted by the carrier was the same as in previous such operations in Wuhan, China, where the outbreak began last year.
At the ITBP facility, the evacuees are expected to be in quarantine for at least 14 days. They will have to stay indoors, but will have access to their phones and laptops, with WiFi, indoor games and television available at the site.
They will be housed in cabins in groups of four or five with a distance of about 2 to 2.5 metres between them, and their health will be monitored every day.
Emergency arrangements have been made by the ITBP, including beds for separate isolation. The 1,000-bed facility has a medical staff of about 40 persons, including over a dozen doctors.
The facility previously quarantined 518 evacuees from Wuhan between February 1 and March 14, all of whom were discharged after they tested negative for Covid-19.