The Indian Ministry of Tourism has introduced an online portal to help foreign nationals who have been stranded in India after the coronavirus lockdown.
The website, aptly named strandedinindia.com, was launched on March 31, 2020, and includes COVID-19 call-centres and helpline numbers that tourists can use to reach for help, reports VisaGuide.World.
The purpose of the portal is to serve as a “support network” for tourists stuck across different parts of India and broadcast information about the services foreign tourists can use as they are stranded away from home.
The announcement on the portal reads:
“The world is facing an unprecedented situation today. The Ministry of Tourism is with you in these difficult times. We are truly committed towards the safety of one and all. If you are a foreign traveller stranded anywhere in India due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we can help you get in touch with the concerned authorities.”
Each State and Union Territory of India has set up its own 24/7 helpline. There is a section of the portal in which you can select the area of India you are currently in and you will be presented with the local helpline number.
The Ministry of External Affairs has also appointed officers to assist tourists based on their geographical area.
On March 24, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi decreed a nation-wide lockdown for a 21-day period, restricting movement for all 1.3 billion residents in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus. All modes of transportation were suspended (road, air and rail) and people were ordered to remain indoors.
This led to a mass exodus of thousands of migrants who left for their homes after losing their jobs in India’s larger cities. Since public transportation was halted, they resorted to walking home in large groups of people.
Hundreds of Nepalese nationals, who had been living and working in India, were stuck in the India-Nepal cross-points after the Himalayan nation closed its borders.
Just like in India, countries around the world have placed coronavirus travel restrictions as they try to contain the pandemic.
As of April 1, there are over 1,600 reported cases of the coronavirus in India, and over 884,000 across the globe.