After long wait, 139 stranded Indians head home

Izah Azahari

A Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) chartered flight yesterday departed Brunei Darussalam for Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu in South India, carrying 139 Indian nationals who were stranded in Brunei following the suspension of international flights as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

High Commissioner of India to Brunei Darussalam Ajaneesh Kumar and high commission officials bade the 139 nationals farewell at the Brunei International Airport yesterday.

The Indian nationals included those who had been laid off, short-term visitors as well as those with compelling reasons such as medical treatment/family emergencies.

The chartered flight was operated in full compliance with the COVID-19 pandemic-related guidelines and standard operating protocols (SOPs) set by the relevant ministries of the Government of India. All passengers were provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) kits and hygiene equipment for the flight.

The 139 comprised of residents from 14 Indian states, with a majority from Tamil Nadu and Kerala. They will undergo a COVID-19 test in Coimbatore and remain on mandatory quarantine at designated centres.

The High Commission of India in Brunei Darussalam coordinated the flight, its clearances, as well as identified and ensured the stranded Indian nationals completed all necessary formalities prior to boarding the flight.

The high commission expressed gratitude for the assistance rendered by RB, Indian Association Belait (IAB), Malayali Association (MA), Bandar Seri Begawan Indian Association (BSBIA) and members of the Indian community in ensuring the smooth repatriation and operation of the chartered flight.

High Commissioner of India to Brunei Darussalam Ajaneesh Kumar with stranded families heading home at the Brunei International Airport. PHOTO: HIGH COMMISSION OF INDIA IN BRUNEI DARUSSALAM