PANAJI: A chartered flight carrying 168 Indian ship crew members, who were stranded abroad due to travel restrictions amid the COVID-19 crisis, arrived at the Goa airport from Italy on Wednesday morning, authorities said.
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs last week gave its nod for bringing back 414 Goans, who were working with the M/s Costa Cruise Company and were stranded in Italy.
"Goa International Airport receives 1st repatriation flight bringing to home 168 seafarers of Goa. All protocol for social distance, hand sanitisation in place, Process of testing to commence shortly," the state airport tweeted.
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Swab samples of the passengers were collected for testing, a health department official said.
"If anyone is found positive for coronavirus, the person will be admitted to the hospital designated for treatment of the disease, he said.
Goa International Airport receives Ist repatriation flight bringing to home 168 seafarers of Goa few minutes back. All protocol for social distance, hand sanitization in place. Process of testing to commence shortly @AAI_Official @MoCA_GoI @DGCAIndia @goacm @aairedwr pic.twitter.com/a2sovah0dU— Goa Airport (@aaigoaairport) May 20, 2020
All the 168 passengers would be quarantined for 14 days before being allowed to go home, said Dickson Vaz, founder president of the Seamen Association of Goa, a private union.
Two more flights are expected to arrive during the day to bring back others working with the M/s Costa Cruise Company, he said.