The Indian high commission on Sunday refuted claims in several social media groups that Air India will evacuate stranded Indians in the UK in early April, reiterating that the travel ban imposed by New Delhi will last at least until April 14.
Many Indians on business and other categories of UK visa are unable to return home. The Boris Johnson government has extended until May 31 the visa period of Indians whose visa has expired or is due to expire due to the situation created by the coronavirus pandemic.
The mission tweeted: “High Commission notes with dismay that some rumours are being spread even in such trying times. We request all not to pay attention to rumours. Stay connected with us for updates”.
The mission and officials received a large number of calls on its emergency number and personal numbers in recent days about the purported evacuation. Officials insisted that “there is no such plan”, and urged journalists and others to dispel such rumours.
Some of those stranded pointed out that New Delhi had evacuated Indians from Rome and other places, and appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to arrange similar flights from the UK. They would rather be in India and face the virus situation than in the UK, they said.
The mission referred inquiring Indians to a list of frequently asked questions it uploaded on March 27, asking those affected to remain in touch for updates. It has also provided assistance to those needing accommodation and food.
“These are trying times. The world is in uncharted waters. We can come out of this challenge only if we act responsibly and help each other…Indians citizens in the UK should adhere to the advice of the NHS and Public Health England for their safety and well-being”, the mission said.
Besides the mission, diaspora and student groups such as the National Indian Students and Alumni Union UK and the Indian National Students Association have been providing assistance to the stranded Indians.