Operation Samudra Setu Brings Home Nearly 700 Indians from Sri Lanka

Nearly 700 Indians, mostly hailing from Tamil Nadu arrived here on Tuesday by naval warship 'INS Jalashwa' from Sri Lanka, where they were stranded due to COVID-19 linked international travel restrictions.

As soon as the passengers disembarked, they were thermal screened and their baggage disinfected by health workers in protective gear, V O Chidambaranar Port Trust and district police authorities said.

According to VOC Port Trust, nearly 700 people including crew arrived here as per schedule and 675 passengers belong to Tamil Nadu,and 10 others belong to states including neighbouring Kerala.

A total of 685 passengers-- 553 men, 125 women and seven children arrived according to defence sources.

A chunk of the returnees were stranded tourists, some fishermen and workers and there were others under categories like "... short term visa holders faced with expiry of visas," according to the port.

A senior police official said returnees were being sent to their respective districts in Tamil Nadu through specially arranged government buses and they have been advised to remain in home quarantine for two weeks.

Respective district health authorities will take swab samples from returnees from their houses as per protocol, he said. Only if returnees had symptoms on arrival, they will be referred to hospitals here, he added.

"Operation #SamudraSetu #INSJalashwa arrives at Tuticorin with Indiancitizens embarked from Colombo, Sri Lanka," Navy Spokesperson said on his twitter handle.

INS Jalashwa, carrying 685 people, started sailing back home from Colombo port in Sri Lanka on Monday night.

Participating in the third phase of Navy's mission to bring back Indian citizens stranded abroad, it had reached Colombo on Monday morning.

The Indian Navy under its ambitious "Operation Samudra Setu" programme had safely repatriated nearly 1,500 Indian nationals from the Maldives in first two phases in its two vessels--INS Jalashwa and INS Magar on May 10, May 12 and May 17.

This was part of the Vande Bharat mission to repatriate stranded Indians in foreign countries through air and sea routes.