Operation Samudra Setu: Cochin Port prepares for handling evacuees

Kochi (Kerala) [India], May 10 (ANI): Cochin Port has opened its resources for facilitating the smooth transition of expatriates under 'Operation Samudra Setu'.

"Samudrika Cruise Terminal has been opened up for handling the expatriates and Port has taken up necessary refurbishments consistent with the medical protocols," Cochin Port Trust said in a statement.

The first group of 698 persons evacuated from the Maldives arrived at Cochin Port today at 9:30 am on board 'INS Jalashwa' of the Indian Navy.

According to the statement, the ship is berthed at BTP Jetty and disembarkation procedures are being carried out at Samudrika Cruise Terminal.

The group comprises 595 males and 103 females. Of this, 14 are children below 10 years and 19 pregnant women. Though the majority of passengers are from Kerala and Tamil Nadu there are people of 18 other states and Union Territories also on the ship.

Passengers showing COVID-19 symptoms are being disembarked first followed by others in small groups, district-wise.

The thermal screening of passengers on arrival is being carried out by the Port Health Organisation.

"Customs and Immigration procedures are being carried out inside the terminal, where the arrangement has also been made for the distribution of SIM cards by BSNL and installation of Aarogya Setu app in mobile phones of passengers. Disinfection facility for baggage and free wi-fi has been made available by the Port at the terminal," the statement added.

The arrangements for onward travel to hospitals, institutional quarantine centres, home quarantine are ensured by the state government by deploying ambulances, state transport buses and taxis, it added.

The statement stated that these arrangements are coordinated by the District Administration, Police Department and Health Department.

Operation Samudra Setu is a repatriation mission launched by the Indian Navy to bring Indian citizens home from foreign shores in wake of COVID-19. The mission is being conducted in close coordination with Ministries of Defence, External Affairs, Home Affairs, Health and various other agencies of the Government of India and state governments. (ANI)