New Delhi: As many as 276 Indians have been infected with coronavirus abroad, including 255 in Iran, 12 in UAE and five in Italy, the government informed the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
In a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said the total number of Indians infected with coronavirus is 276 -- 255 in Iran, 12 in UAE, five in Italy, and one each in Hong Kong, Kuwait, Rwanda and Sri Lanka.
Replying to a separate question, Muraleedharan said eight resident Indians are under quarantine in the UAE, while none in Kuwait.
In Iran, as per available information, there are over 6,000 Indian nationals, he said in his written reply to a question on whether many Indians are held up in Arab countries including Kuwait and Iran due to coronavirus.
The Indians in Iran include about 1,100 pilgrims mainly from Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir and Maharashtra, nearly 300 students primarily from J&K, about 1,000 fishermen, including from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, and others who are on a long-term stay in Iran for pursuing their livelihood and religious studies, the minister said.
Asked about steps take by the Centre to help Indians stranded in Iran due to the coronavirus outbreak, Muraleedharan said the government has made focussed efforts for the safe return of Indians from that country.
A team of six Indian health officials has been deputed to Iran in order to set up testing and sampling facilities there, he said.
Muraleedharan said 1,706 samples have been taken, including from pilgrims, students and other Indians stranded in Iran.
These are tested at medical facilities including the National Institute of Virology, Pune, he said.
As of March 16, 389 Indians, including 205 pilgrims and 183 students, have been repatriated in four batches on board special flights of the Indian Air Force and Iranian airlines, he said.
"Our Consulate in Bandar Abbas has reached out to the Indian fishermen who are residing mainly in southern provinces of Iran. They are in good health and have sufficient provision of essential supplies. Efforts are being made to facilitate early return of the Indian nationals stranded in Iran after testing them," Muraleedharan said.
"Our Embassies/Consulates in the region are in touch with the Indian nationals and are working with the local authorities to provide all possible assistance. The situation is being monitored regularly," he said.
Iran is one of the worst-affected countries amid the coronavirus outbreak and the government has been working to bring back Indians stranded there. Nearly 1,000 people have died from the disease in Iran.