Last batch of stranded pilgrims evacuated from Iran

People from Iran return to Leh on Sunday. — Excelsior/Morup Stanzin
People from Iran return to Leh on Sunday. — Excelsior/Morup Stanzin

20 shifted from home to institutional quarantine

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, May 17: The last batch of 310 Ladakhi pilgrims, who were left stranded in Iran over the past two months amid the Coronavirus lockdown, landed at Leh airport today.
The pilgrims were earlier flown to New Delhi from Tehran on a special flight of the Mahan Airways and were later taken to Leh onboard two special aircrafts of Air India.
As many as 290 of the evacuated pilgrims belong to Kargil and are on their way to their hometown.

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“The Iran returnees will go for institutional quarantine at the quarantine facilities set up by the administration in various hotels and resorts in the district,” sources said.
“Due medicare and other requisite facilities would be given to the pilgrims during quarantine besides their COVID-19 tests would also be conducted as a precautionary measure”, they said.
The booking of tickets for all 310 pilgrims was done well in advance for which funds were arranged on loan from the District Red Cross Fund, Kargil.
As regards to the status of the evacuation of stranded passengers into the district from different parts of the country, sources said over 85 per cent stranded people have already reached back home and evacuation in case of Jammu has almost been completed with 233 buses and 686 light vehicles carrying 8,000 residents and students, who have already arrived in the district recently.
Around 3,000 passengers have been brought home from Srinagar in 107 buses while permission for private vehicles is under process for the rest of the stranded Ladakh residents, sources said.
Evacuation of passengers from Jammu and Srinagar to Zanskar has also been completed by providing 32 buses while stranded Zanskar residents from Himachal Pradesh will be brought home soon sources said.
They said that evacuation of students from States like West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh as well as Mumbai will be done through train services.
Eight students from Mominpura in Maharashtra’s Nagpur would be brought home after the area is declared free from the Red Zone category.
Meanwhile the Chairman District Disaster Management Authority / District Magistrate Leh today issued an order regarding reopening/resumption of standalone registered wine shops and trade.
The order read that the Chairman DDMA/DM Leh in exercise of powers vested in him under Section 34 of Disaster Management Act, 2005, has ordered reopening/resumption of standalone registered wine shops & trade amid lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic in Leh town from except on the dry days as already notified by the Government.
However, all social distancing norms will be followed strictly as per the guidelines of MHA and as per the prescribed timing i.e. 9 am to 3 pm.
Meanwhile, 23 including five members of a family, were put under 28-days strict institutional quarantine for violating home quarantine Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) here in Kargil.
Authorities have designated surveillance officers to monitor the daily surveillance of the residents, students as well as returnees from Iran and other countries who have been put under home quarantine as a preventive step to contain the spread of coronavirus in the district which was recently declared COVID-19 free.
“During the course of the random checking, 20 persons were found violating the home quarantine SOPs who were later put into 28 days strict institutional quarantine at the quarantine facilities established by the district administration,” sources said.
Officials have been instructed to randomly check homes under quarantine in their jurisdictions and submit the details of defaulters to the office of the District Magistrate on a daily basis, sources said.
“People in quarantine have also been exhorted upon that besides strictly adhering to other necessary quarantine measures, social distancing, personal hygiene and hygiene of the surroundings should be given utmost priority to contain the spread of COVID-19,” sources said.