COVID-19: The sudden spike in coronavirus cases in India forced the government to place the country in a lockdown seemingly overnight, which left several tourists stranded.
Coronavirus lockdown: Foreign nationals in India, pay attention! As India has been placed under a lockdown, the operations of all international and domestic flights have been halted, to avoid the spread of COVID-19. Amid this, there are several foreigners who have been left stranded at various places in India, with no means to go back home or even reach their respective embassies, as the entire system of public transportation has also come to a standstill. To aid those foreigners stuck here, the Union Ministry of Tourism has launched a portal called stranded in India. The website also includes the way in which the Union Ministry of External Affairs can help the foreign travellers.
The website (strandedinindia [dot] com) has listed out various ways in which any foreigner can get in touch with the government for help. The message on the website reads that while the world is dealing with an unprecedented situation, the Ministry of Tourism is committed to ensuring that everyone is safe. It further states that the Ministry will help any foreign traveller stuck at any place in India get in touch with the concerned authorities.
The website has listed out a COVID-19 helpline number [1075 or +91-11-23978046] and the email addressed which could be reached out to (email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org). Apart from these, the Government of India’s WhatsApp helpline number is also listed (+91-9013151515).
A tourist helpline number has also been listed on the website [1363 or 1800-11-1363].
The Ministry of External Affairs had set up a round-the-clock helpline for coordination. It has also listed some numbers that can be contacted for further information. The control room can be contacted on [1800118797 or +91-11-23012113 or +91-11- 23014104 or +91-11-23017905]. The fax number is +91-11-23018158. An email ID maintained by the MEA is also given (email@example.com).
Apart from that, the numbers of several officers according to the region where the foreign traveller belongs to is also given, under the tab named MEA COVID-19 Control Centre. A stranded person can get in touch with the respective officers for further assistance.
The portal also includes a portion where the stranded person can choose the state or Union Territory where they are stuck. Upon selecting the state or UT, the website will display the local helpline which has been set up by the state or UT administration. These helplines can also be contacted for assistance.
In case none of these options suits the stranded the traveller, at the bottom of the website’s homepage, there is an embedded support form which asks a few questions, like the name of the person seeking support, the place where they have travelled to India from, where they are stranded in India, the individual’s contact number, email and the message they have for the support team.
The sudden spike in coronavirus cases in India forced the government to place the country in a lockdown seemingly overnight, which left several tourists stranded. As India has earlier had to rescue its own citizens, who were in distress, from various countries like China, Italy and Iran, it understands the plight of all the foreign travellers stuck here and has hence, taken this step to ensure that their stay is as comfortable as possible and that they can reach home safely.