More than 50,000 Indians living in Oman have been flown home on repatriation and chartered flights in the last three months after the oil-rich Gulf nation was hit by the coronavirus outbreak, a media report said on Monday. Since May, when the cases of coronavirus in Oman started surging, a total of 198 chartered planes were arranged by companies and social organisations in Oman, taking home 35,000 Indian nationals, the Times of Oman reported, citing a statement from the Indian Embassy in Muscat.
Additionally, the Vande Bharat repatriation mission organised by the Government of India has seen another 17,000 Indians fly home on 97 flights, the statement said. Anuj Swarup, the Second Secretary at Indian Embassy in Oman, said the Vande Bharat Mission from Oman that started on May 9 has operated till date a total 105 flights, enabling thousands of Indian nationals to return to India, according to the Gulf News, a UAE-based newspaper.
Swarup said the Indian government has planned Phase 5 of the Vande Bharat Mission in the coming days. "As we glide into Phase 5 of Vande Bharat Mission, a total 19 flights have been scheduled in the first half of August to various Indian states. Flights have been scheduled as per the registrations received by the Embassy and we will continue to facilitate travel of Indian nationals," Swarup said.
Oman, which so far has reported 79,159 infections and reported 422 deaths due to the disease, also saw its economy hit by the pandemic, causing a large number of job losses. More than nine million Indians work and live in the Gulf region. In Oman, they constitute the largest expatriate community.
There are about 7,70,000 Indians in Oman, of which about 6,55,000 are workers and professionals. Thousands of Indians are working as doctors, engineers, chartered accountants, teachers, lecturers, nurses and other professionals, according to the Indian Embassy in Oman.