NEW DELHI: About 60,000 foreign nationals from 72 countries were evacuated from India in the midst of the coronavirus lockdown, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Thursday.
Anurag Srivastava, the spokesperson in the ministry, said the issue of evacuation of Indians stranded abroad is also under discussion and that all the Indian missions are extending all possible assistance to the diaspora community.
Indian missions are making exceptional efforts to provide assistance to stranded Indians, he said at an online briefing.
It is learnt that the government is working on a mega plan to deploy a raft of naval ships as well as military and commercial aircraft to evacuate thousands of Indians stranded in the Gulf and other regions after the nationwide lockdown ends.
On China's criticism of the decision by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to stop use of COVID-19 rapid testing kits supplied by two Chinese companies, the MEA spokesperson said the matter is being handled by the premier medical body.
The ICMR on Monday asked the states and union territories to stop using the test kits procured from the Chinese companies "Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech and Zhuhai Livzon Diagnostics" due to "wide variations" in their performance.
Srivastava said India has provided 2.8 million hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) tablets and 1.9 million paracetamol tablets to over 20 countries as part of its assistance.
India also provided HCQ and paracetamol tablets to a large number of countries on commercial basis.
Hydroxychloroquine has been identified by the US Food and Drug Administration as a possible treatment for the COVID-19.