New Delhi: Even as it faces flak over its handling of the migrant crisis in the country, the Centre on Monday announced that starting May 7, Indian nationals stranded abroad will be brought back in a phased manner. Also Read - Over a Lakh Keralites Register to Return Home From Abroad on Kerala Government Website

In a statement today, the government said, “The government of India will be facilitating the return of Indian nationals stranded abroad on compelling grounds in a phased manner. The travel would be arranged by aircraft and naval ships. The Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) has been prepared in this regard.” Also Read - Coronavirus: After Lockdown, Centre Plans to Bring Back Indian Nationals Who Are Stranded Abroad

Adding that Indian embassies and high commissions are preparing a list of the distressed Indian citizens, the government further said that the facility would be available on a payment basis. Also Read - Bodies of Indians Who Die Abroad Due to COVID Can be Brought Back: MHA

“The travel would begin in a phased manner from May 7,” it added.

The government also said that for transit, medical screening of the passengers will be carried out, and, on arrival in India, they will have to download the Aarogya Setu app.

Additionally, the returnees will be quarantined for two weeks in either in a hospital or in an institutional quarantine on payment-basis, by the respective state governments. A COVID-19 test would be done after 14 days, which will be followed by further actions, as per health protocols.

The government’s statement, notably, comes just days after the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) announced that the Navy has readied its ships for evacuating Indian citizens stranded in the Gulf, and bring them back as soon as a go-ahed from the government is received.