Indian Navy ship INS Jalashwa on Friday departed from Maldives, with 588 nationals stranded due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
The vessel will travel from Male' to Kochi as per the Indian High Commission.
This is the second repatriation trip made by INS Jalashwa. During the first trip, 698 Indians travelled back to their country on this ship. In addition to this, a further 202 Indians were evacuated via another INS ship, INS Magar.
With this, a total of 1488 Indians have been evacuated from Maldives to India amidst the travel restrictions.
Indian High Commissioner Sunjay Sudhir went to bid farewell to those travelling back home.
Noting that there are many who are keen to travel back to India, he expressed gratitude towards the Indian and Maldivian governments for facilitating these repatriation operations.
Additionally, he noted the support of all concerned Maldivian authorities, and thanked them as well.
Sundhir also revealed that the initial plan was for about 700 Indians to travel in INS Jalashwa, however, due to weather conditions, some could not make it to Male' in time.
"Today the weather has been exceptionally bad due to the monsoon winds and also because of the turbulence, a lot of Indians who had to come for far off islands were stranded and were unable to complete their journey."
After arriving to Kochi, passengers will go in to quarantine for a period of 14 days before being allowed to travel to their final destinations.
Multiple countries have been arranging evacuation operations in order to bring back their citizens stranded in Maldives due to the lockdown enforced to tackle the global pandemic COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Maldives has also been working with other countries to extract locals stranded abroad and has successfully repatriated people from several countries including Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia and Bangladesh.
On March 12, 2020, the World Health Organization classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. At present, the new strain of novel coronavirus has infected over 4.6 million people and claimed over 310,500 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, 1.7 million people have recovered.