COVID-19 crisis: Bring thousands of Indian workers stranded in Middle East, Rahul Gandhi urges Centre

New Delhi: Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday urged the Centre to bring back thousands of Indian workers stranded in the Middle East where they are left out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Congress MP took to Twitter and said that thousands of Indian workers are in deep distress and desperate to return home and the government should bring them back and put in mandatory quarantine.

“The Covid-19 crisis and shutting of businesses in the Middle East have left thousands of Indian workers in deep distress and desperate to return home. The Govt must organise flights to bring home our brothers and sisters most in need of assistance, with quarantine plans in place,” Rahul said in his tweet.

It may be recalled that the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) informed the Supreme Court on Monday that there are 13 million Indians – including NRIs and students stranded abroad and the government is seeking to minimise the severe risk posed by their arrival from an increasing number of countries affected by COVID-19.

The government has urged the Indian nationals to stay put where they are to contain the further spread of the virus within India and allow the health machinery to focus on domestic containment effectively.

In the UK, there are about 400,000 Indian nationals, including about 50,000 students. The UK government has now extended visas till May 31 and has issued necessary guidelines.

“However, given the present situation of the coronavirus outbreak in India and the available limited resources, it is not feasible to selectively evacuate Indian citizens from abroad when a large number of them from a number of countries want to return back due to various reasons,” said the MEA in its reply to the Supreme Court.

The nation-wide lockdown has been extended till May 3 to contain the spread of the pandemic that has killed over 370 people and infected over 11,000 in the country.