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Coronavirus | India shuts lab for COVID-19 in Tehran

Six-member team returns; special flights to evacuate hundreds of people

A medical laboratory that was set up in Tehran to test stranded Indians for COVID-19 has been shut down, official sources said on Monday. The facility was instrumental in determining the health status of hundreds of Indians stuck there.

Sources said that the “sampling facility” at the Embassy of India in Tehran is currently not operational as the six-member team that ran it on behalf of the Indian Council of Medical Research, left the country on March 18.

At least 255 Indians from Kashmir, Ladakh and Kargil had tested positive at the centre. Most of them are currently at a wellness centre, run jointly by Iranian authorities and the Embassy officials, in Qom. The medical team had conducted tests on around 1,200 citizens since their landing in the Islamic Republic on March 5.

Several thousand Indians, comprising of tourists, pilgrims, students and resident members of the Indian community, want to return home in view of the worsening situation in Iran.

Earlier, Mahan Air had proposed to bring back all the Indian nationals from Iran without any financial incentive. However, India did not respond to that proposal. On Monday, Officials informed that India will evacuate a few hundred of its stranded citizens by two aircraft of Mahan Air, which will fly back on March 24 and March 25.

India is currently blocking all international commercial airlines but those carrying Indians from Iran come under a special category.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 1:44:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coronavirus-india-shuts-lab-for-covid-19-in-tehran/article31145462.ece

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