277 foreign returnees untraced in Andhra Pradesh amid Omicron scare

Police said 2,389 Indians as also one Malawian student from Southeastern Africa landed in Visakhapatnam since December 1

Visakhapatnam: The authorities are scouting around to trace 277 Indian nationals who returned from various foreign countries in recent days and vanished into thin air in north coastal districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam.

Police said 2,389 Indians as also one Malawian student from Southeastern Africa landed in Visakhapatnam since December 1.

Some 2,389 people arrived from December 1 to 14. The medical personnel could trace 1,364 of these and the remaining are untraced arrivals, whose list is now with the police.

The police traced 861 of these, but there was no clue on the whereabouts of 164 persons. “Most of them are NRIs who usually visit their homes during the winter. They casually gave the name of the locality of their homes without any landmarks while boarding flights from the countries of their domicile.

“At times the phone numbers in the form filled by them were wrong, spelling of localities was changed. With much difficulty, we could trace 861 persons. We will trace the remaining very soon,’’ said a police officer.

A foreigner from Malawi who arrived on December 12 took the RT-PCR test the following day. He was isolated in a single room in an international hostel and the test results showed him negative.

“We have conducted RT-PCR tests on all those who have arrived in Vizag except the 164 untraced,’’ said district medical and health officer Dr Tirupati Rao.

Similarly 614 returned to Srikakulam, including one from South Africa whose test results are yet to be released by CCMB, from foreign countries and of them 520 could be traced so far. Search on for remaining 94 persons.

In Vizianagaram, 338 returned from abroad and of them 312 were traced. Seven are from other districts. The medical teams are looking for remaining 19 persons.

Meanwhile, Andhra University has admitted 80 students hailing from various foreign countries since November 5. The highest of 17 was from Angola and 15 from Swaziland. University authorities said two students from South Africa were also enrolled. The fate of the Afghanistan students is not known yet.

“Despite sanction of scholarship from ICCR and admissions by Andhra University and others, the fate of 400 students arriving in India is not known. Those who went for a short holiday after the Taliban takeover have also not returned,’’ said dean of International Affairs, AU, Prof Dhananjay Rao.

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