In order to protect Indian citizens from the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, a total of 1036 Indian citizens post testing for Covid-19 at Iran, were evacuated in five batches to India. Three batches were brought to Jaisalmer and two to Jodhpur. Upon arival they were quarantined for 14 days as per ICMR protocol at the Army Wellness Facilities at Jaisalmer and Jodhpur which were created by vacating living barracks of the troops.
On completion of the quarantine period, the evacuees were tested for the first time in India at AlIMS, Jodhpur, wherein out of the 236 evacuees of the first batch, 15 asymptomatic persons tested positive from 28th March onwards and were shifted to AlIMS, Jodhpur. On 29th March, the complete second batch of 53 students tested negative and efforts are underway to ensure their earliest return home. In the third batch of 195 evacuees, only two persons have tested positive till date.
In the case of Jodhpur facility, proactive testing by the Army in the initial days itself led to identification of 19 positive cases out of the total 552 evacuees, who have been isolated at AIIMS and MDM hospitals Jodhpur, while the balance are undergoing quarantine at the Army facility. As a consequence of the Army’s diligent and systematic efforts, the asymptomatic evacuees who tested positive have been prevented from becoming vehicles of contamination to other parts of the nation.
As per ICMR directive, the quarantine period of batch one and three has been extended by another 14 days and even smaller clusters of 25-50 people have been made to further reduce the chances of community spread and ensure their early return home. The motivation and team spirit of the evacuees, Army care givers and Rajasthan Government to fight the Corona challenge needs to be appreciated and is a model worth emulating by the rest of the Nation.