Repatriation of expats from Saudi Arabia gathers pace

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A handout picture provided by the Embassy of India in Riyadh on May 8, 2020 shows Indian expats inside a plane upon their departure at King Fahad International airport heading to Kozhikode. (AFP)
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A handout picture provided by the Embassy of India in Riyadh on May 8, 2020 shows Indian expats queueing up at departure section in King Fahad International airport heading to Kozhikode. (AFP)
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Updated 09 May 2020

Repatriation of expats from Saudi Arabia gathers pace

  • The embassy and the consulate received about 60,000 registrations from the Indian community

RIYADH: The repatriation of expatriates from Saudi Arabia has gathered pace, in coordination with authorities, embassies and airlines.
The Indian Embassy began its repatriation mission on Friday, sending back citizens who had been stranded in the Kingdom due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The first flight from Saudi Arabia for the evacuation of Indian nationals has departed from King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh,” the embassy said.
The flight was headed to Kozhikode, in the southern Indian state of Kerala. It carried 152 passengers, including four infants. The passengers mainly consisted of stranded workers and medical cases, including pregnant women.
All passengers were screened for COVID-19 prior to boarding.
The next scheduled flight is from Riyadh to New Delhi on May 10, followed by a flight from Dammam to Kochi on May 12. There are two flights from Jeddah to destinations in Kerala later in the week.
Indian Ambassador Dr. Ausaf Sayeed said that flights to additional destinations in India were being explored.
The embassy and consulate prepared the manifests of repatriation flights based on the database for online registration that was launched on April 29.
“We have prioritized individuals on the basis of exigencies, such as distressed workers, urgent medical cases, pregnant women, stranded Umrah pilgrims, among others,” the ambassador said.
The embassy and the consulate received about 60,000 registrations from the Indian community.
The repatriation process would take time, he said, and they were targeting 1,000 Indians in this first phase.
Pakistani missions in Saudi Arabia have also started repatriating stranded nationals, with the first two flights taking off from Riyadh and Jeddah on May 1.
The British Embassy has been helping its nationals in Saudi Arabia who urgently needed to return to the UK. “Our ninth flight for British nationals and residents in the  Kingdom has departed from Riyadh. We thank Saudi Arabian Airlines and the Saudi government for helping Brits get home to their families,” UK Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Neil Crompton tweeted.
Priority was given to Britons visiting Saudi Arabia on short-stay visas, those most at risk from COVID-19, NHS workers and those based far away from airports who might struggle to access future flights.


Saudi railway wins international award for safety measures

Updated 34 min 29 sec ago

Saudi railway wins international award for safety measures

RIYADH:  The Saudi Railways Co. (SAR) won the International Safety Award for 2020 from the British Safety Council for the second time in a row for its exemplary management of health, safety and environmental risks.

CEO of SAR Dr. Bashar bin Khalid Al-Malik said that the company puts at the forefront of its strategic plans the application of the highest safety standards in operating the rail network in the Kingdom.

He said that SAR accords top priority to the culture of safety in the management, operation and maintenance of its trains by following international laws that have proven effective in ensuring safety in the work environment.

Al-Malik said: “We are proud that SAR wins such international awards, which reflect the efforts and decisions taken to apply and develop health and safety measures.”