New Delhi, Jun 21 (PTI) Indian Naval Ship (INS) Airavat on Sunday left Male in the Maldives for Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu with 198 Indians who were stranded there amid the COVID-19 pandemic, senior Navy officials said.
This repatriation effort starts the 'next phase' of Operation Samudra Setu, which has been initiated by the Indian Navy to bring stranded citizens from abroad.
'The INS Airavat left Port of Male, Maldives for Tuticorin after the embarkation of 198 personnel on Sunday,' the officials said.
During the first phase of Operation Samudra Setu between May 8 and May 12, INS Jalashwa and INS Magar repatriated 698 and 202 Indians, respectively, amid the coronavirus-induced lockdown. The second phase started immediately after that.
While domestic air travel restarted on May 25 after a gap of two months, international air travel continues to remain suspended in India.
More than 4.1 lakh people have been infected and around 13,200 people have died due to COVID-19 in India till now. PTI DSP ANB ANB