The 96 Malaysians who were stranded in New Delhi have returned home on an Air Asia flight last night. The Malaysian embassy in New Delhi and consulate Chennai are working hard to repatriate the remaining Malaysians who are stranded.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed this on their social media platform.

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96 rakyat Malaysia yang terkandas di India pulang menaiki pesawat Air Asia dari New Delhi malam tadi. Kakitangan Perwakilan Malaysia di New Delhi, Chennai dan Mumbai masih lagi berusaha untuk membantu yang lain untuk kembali ke Malaysia. Hubungi: Suruhanjaya Tinggi Malaysia di New Delhi 50-M, Satya Marg, Chanakyapuri, 110021 New Delhi Tel. : +91-11-2415 9300/9310/9311 Emel: [email protected] #coronavirus #coronavirusoutbreak #covid_19 #staysafe #malaysia #rakyatmalaysia #rakyatmalaysiadiluarnegeri #rakyatmalaysiadiperantauan #malaysiandiaspora #malaysianabroad #klntaskforce_covid19 #malaysiaku #sayangimalaysiaku #malaysiaintheeyesoftheworld #wismaputra #wismaputraprihatin @kkmm_gov @kementeriankesihatanmalaysia @mkn_rasmi @japenmalaysia

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At press time, there has been no update from the ministry on the fate of close to 200 Malaysians stranded in Tamil Nadu. They were last reported to be meeting with Consul General of Malaysia to Chennai, Mr Saravanan Karathihayan last night.

Zulkhis Abdul Jalil came to know in time that a special flight would depart New Delhi for Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday night. The 52-year-old Malaysian’s earlier attempt to fly out of India ended in him being stranded at Bangalore on Tuesday as air travel was disrupted on the India-Malaysia route due to new Indian coronavirus measures.

“I wanted to leave as soon as possible so I booked an IndiGo airline flight via Bangalore but my connecting flight to Kuala Lumpur was cancelled. Then I came back to New Delhi and approached the High Commission for help,” Zulkhis told Bernama.

Luckily for him and many Malaysians stranded in places like Delhi, Jaipur and Amritsar, the High Commission was registering passengers to take a special AirAsia flight.

Airlines have stopped scheduled flights between India and Malaysia since Tuesday afternoon after an Indian government order announced new restrictions on international travel as part of the country’s tightening measures to combat the Covid-19 outbreak.

Chinniah P. Arumugam, 65, said his group of 19 Malaysian tourists were booked on a Malindo Air flight, but when their flight was cancelled they bought Malaysia Airlines (MAS) tickets, only to be informed later that the MAS services were also suspended.

“We originally planned to go back on March 21, but we understood things were bad and we just wanted to get back to Malaysia,” Chinniah said, looking relaxed that he and his tour group were confirmed to fly back to Malaysia.

The Malaysian High Commission on Wednesday was in touch with 230 Malaysians who wanted to leave India, but many could not make it to Delhi to take the special flight, which took off with 111 passengers around 11 pm.

The Malaysian budget carrier also operated an evacuation flight from Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh state to Kuala Lumpur with 24 passengers. AirAsia earlier brought 405 Indian passengers from Kuala Lumpur to Visakhapatnam and New Delhi on Wednesday before taking the stranded Malaysians back home.

High Commissioner Datuk Hidayat Abdul Hamid said Malaysian nationals still in India may fly back home via other routes, including Singapore.

“No one could foresee the coronavirus situation. We will try to help Malaysian citizens as much as we can. We have implemented the Covid-19 guidelines from Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and the Malaysian government,” Hidayat said.

These include setting up a task force within the diplomatic mission to deal with coronavirus-related matters and taking precautions such as checking visitors for high temperature and requiring them to use hand sanitiser at the entrance.

About 150 Malaysians are still stuck in the Tiruchirappalli district of Tamil Nadu and more than 50 in Chennai.

Yesterday, Minister of Foreign Affairs Hishammudin Hussein vowed to help the stranded Malaysians return home.

More updates to follow.

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