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Coronavirus outbreak: Over 50 Indians marooned in United Kingdom

HYDERABAD:  More than 50 Indian citizens, including many from Hyderabad, are stuck in United Kingdom (UK) ahead of the implementation of Centre’s order banning all International flights coming into the country from March 22. It has to be mentioned here that a Hyderabad resident, Mirza Ibrahim Baig, and 50 others were all set to fly from Gatwick airport in UK to Hyderabad on Friday morning. However, the flight officials denied them from boarding the flight in the light of Indian government’s instruction which says, “no scheduled International commercial passenger aircraft shall take off from any foreign airport for any airport in India after March 22”.

Baig said, “People who are stranded here are mostly students. Our parents back home are panicking as Europe may become the next epicentre of this virus. Right now, we are reaching out to the embassy officials seeking help.” Baig and others also made an appeal to AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi, who in turn requested Subramanyan Jaishankar, the Union Minister of External Affairs, to help the stranded citizens.

Speaking to Express, Owaisi said: “I had a conversation with the Foreign Secretary who told me that these are temporary measures. I apprised the same to the students who reached out to me.” Earlier he had tweeted, “I’ve been informed by one of my constituents that the UK authorities are not allowing approx. 20 Indians to board a flight to India from Gatwick airport. Immigration authorities are insisting on an email from Indian govt. Request @DrSJaishankar to help these stranded Indians urgently (sic).”

As of now, the 50 plus citizens are staying in the office of the Indian High Commission in UK. “Embassy officials are talking to the officials in New Delhi, but there is still no news,” he added. Abdul Faheem Qureshi, an advocate said: “My son (Habeed Mustafa Qureshi) is leading all the passengers to Indian High Commission in London for a memorandum to arrange special flights for Indians in UK, who are suffering from severe trauma as they have not been provided facility for treatment by the NHS in London.”

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