JOHANNESBURG: Indian nationals, who have been stranded in South Africa and the neighbouring Kingdom of Lesotho due to the Covid-19 pandemic, will have the opportunity to get back home as India on Monday announced plans to operate a special flight later this month.
The Indian High Commission announced that as part of the Vande Bharat Mission‘s Phase 3, Air India is planning a flight from Johannesburg to Delhi and Mumbai on June 18, subject to approval from the government or South Africa.
Thousands of Indian nationals have already been evacuated from across the globe under the mission.
Strict conditions have been laid down for those wanting to return, including paying for the costs of the flight themselves. The fare has not yet been determined.
“Priority will be given to compelling cases, including migrant workers or labourers, who have been laid off; short term visa holders with expired/expiring visas, persons with medical emergencies, pregnant women, the elderly, those required to return to India due to death of a family member, and students,” the High Commission said in a statement.
Only asymptomatic travellers will be allowed onto the flight, with all travellers having to sign an undertaking to undergo a seven-day quarantine period in Delhi, Delhi NCR, Haryana, Bhiwadi or Chandigarh at their own cost, followed by seven days of self-isolation at home with self-monitoring of their health.
“Domestic operations have started in India from May 25. However, international passengers cannot take domestic flights without completing the mandatory period of quarantine in Delhi or Mumbai,” the statement said.
Installing the Aarogya Setu mobile app on arrival in India is also mandatory.
About 150 Indian nationals returned home last month on a South African Airways flight after approval from the High Commission as it headed to Mumbai and Delhi to bring home South Africans who had been stranded there during the lockdown.
The Indian nationals each had to pay around 15,000 rands (about $1,000) for their seats, about three times the normal one-way airfare.

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