Nearly 1,500 Indian nationals, including pregnant women and children, stranded in the Maldives due to COVID-19-induced international travel restrictions have been evacuated from the island nation, Indian High Commission in Maldives said on Sunday (May 17).

As part of the ‘Operation Samudra Setu’, the evacuation of the distressed Indians was carried out by naval ships. The Indian government launched the programme on May 7 to bring back Indians who were stranded in various countries due to Corona virus-related restrictions.

Under the phase one of the mission, the government evacuated a total of 6,527 Indians from the Gulf region and from other countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Malaysia and the Maldives.

“1488 and counting! Glad to share that 1488 Indians from 22 states evacuated from Maldives; includes 205 women, 133 pregnant/medical cases & 38 children. Process of evacuation will continue through air to diff. cities and ship/s to TN in coming weeks,” the High Commission said in a tweet.

“It’s time to be airborne! Evacuation flights from Male’ are scheduled for Bengaluru on May 22 & Delhi on May 23. The Bengaluru flt will carry Indians domiciled in Karnataka & ltd numbers in TN and AP. The Delhi flt will carry Indians domiciled in Delhi NCR, Haryana & Chandigarh,” it said in another tweet.

India has been under lock down since March 25 to curtail the spread of the novel Corona virus, which has claimed 2,872 lives and infected 90,927 people as of Sunday. All scheduled commercial passenger flights have been suspended during the lock down period.