COVID-19 National

Over 11,600 NRIs Infected With COVID-19: Ministry Of External Affairs

New Delhi: The government on Thursday, informed the Rajya Sabha that over 11,600 Indians abroad have been infected with the nobel coronavirus disease, as per details available with the country’s missions.

In a written reply to a question in the Upper House, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan, said that Indian Missions have arranged for the welfare of Indian Nationals wherever required which also includes the Indian Community Associations.

He also said that arrangements were also made for the screening, testing of stranded Indian nationals and also the movements of patients through air ambulances to equip them to return to India for further treatments.

“As on September 10, 2020, as per the details available with Indian missions, the total number of Indian citizens abroad infected with coronavirus stood at 11,616,” Muraleedharan was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.

The total number of Indians who are infected abroad are 11,616. Among them, 2,639 were in Bahrain, 4,618 were in Singapore, 238 in the UAE, 1,769 in Kuwait, 907 in Oman, 420 in Qatar, 308 in Iran, and 192 in Italy.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, India has helped over 150 countries with necessary medicines and medical equipment which also includes 80 countries under grants-in-aid, he said.

Muraleedharan also responded to another question upon Vande Bharat Mission and said that it was launched on May 7, 2020. This mission helped more than 14,12,835 Indian nationals to returned India via air, land and sea.

“The actual number of people wishing to return may differ. As per information provided by the missions, many people who have registered may no longer wish to return. Moreover, as per the latest guidelines of Government of India, passengers are no longer required to register for Air Bubble flights,” he said.

“Most people with compelling reasons have safely returned to their homes by air, land and sea. The exercise to bring back stranded Indians is ongoing under the Vande Bharat Mission,” he said.

He also added, “Our Missions have assisted more than 62,000 Indian nationals in distress involving an expenditure of nearly Rs 22.5 crores from the Indian Community Welfare Fund.”

The External affairs minister also answered regarding the details of the facilities which are provided to the workers who are brought back to the country. He stated, “With the aim of making the best of our skilled workforce returning to the country due to the ongoing pandemic, the Government of India launched an initiative SWADES (Skilled Workers Arrival Database for Employment Support) to conduct a skill mapping exercise of the returning citizens under the Vande Bharat Mission.”

A joint initiative was taken up by Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Ministry of External Affairs- ‘SWADES’ is aimed for the creation of a database of the qualified citizens based upon their skills and experience to fulfil the demands of the Indian and Foreign companies.

Muraleedharan stated, “For facilitating employment opportunities, details of SWADES registrations have been integrated with Skill India’s ASEEM (Aatmanirbhar Skilled Employee Employer Mapping) portal which was launched on July 10, 2020.”

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