This is the Indian Navy's first massive evacuation exercise from foreign soil during the COVID-19 lockdown.
INS Jalashwa,carrying 698 repatriated Indian citizens from the Maldives, arrived at Cochin Port on Sunday morning, completing the Indian Navy's first massive evacuation exercise from foreign soil during the COVID-19 lockdown.
"The first group of 698 persons evacuated from the Maldives arrived at Cochin Port today (Sunday) at 9:30 am by 'INS Jalashwa' of the Indian Navy", a Port Trust statement said.
The group comprises 595 males and 103 females.
Of this, 14 are children below 10 years and 19 pregnant women.
Though most passengers are from Kerala and Tamil Nadu, there were repatriates of 18 other states and Union Territories also in the ship, which began its journey from Male to Kochi on Friday night.
The ship has berthed at BTP Jetty and the disembarkation procedures are being carried out at Samudrika Cruise Terminal, the statement said.
Inspector General of Police Vijay Sakhare said all arrangements are in place to facilitate the safe stay of those repatriated, comprising 440 Keralites and people from other parts of the country.
Four passengers are from Lakshwadeep.
The other passengers are from Tamil Nadu (187), Telganana (9), Andhra Pradesh (8), Karnataka (8), Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan (3 each) and Goa (1), Assam (1).
There are seven passengers each from Uttarakhand and West Bengal, Delhi (4), Puducherry (3), while there are two passengers each from Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand, sources said.
Passengers showing COVID-19 symptoms are being disembarked first, followed by others in small groups, district-wise, a Port Trust official said.
Thermal screening of passengers on arrival is being carried out by the Port Health Organisation.
Customs and Immigration procedures are carried out inside the Terminal, where arrangements have also been made for distribution of SIM cards by BSNL and installation of AarogyaSetu in mobile phones of passengers, the official said.
Disinfection facilities for baggage and free wi-fi have been made available by the Port at the Terminal.
Arrangements for onward travel to hospitals or institutional quarantine centres and home quarantine have been ensured by the state government by deploying ambulances, state transport buses and taxis, the official said.
These arrangements are coordinated by the district administration, police and health departments.