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Seeking Refuge In UK Mission, Indian Students Demand To Be Sent Back Home

LONDON: Demanding to be put on a flight to India over coronavirus fears, a group of Indian students sought refuge in premises of the Indian High Commission in London overnight on Saturday.

The group of 19 students, mostly of Telangana, declined offers of alternate accommodations arranged with the Indian diaspora groups’ help.

India has imposed an entry ban from UK and Europe until the end of this month in the view of novel coronavirus pandemic.

“The Indian community has tried to help them and initially it was a group of 59 students, 40 of whom have been allocated alternative accommodation but the remaining 19 are being completely unreasonable and refuse to move,” said a community leader, who has been working with the Indian High Commission on making arrangements for the stranded Indian students.

Many of the students had flights booked back to India for later this month as universities in UK usually have an Easter break period.

Earlier this week, India issued an updates travel advisory saying that no traveller would be allowed entry into India after 1200 GMT on March 18 till March 31.

The students have been placed within a quarantined space in the Indian High Commission building in Aldwych, central London.

As the United Kingdom is under complete lockdown from Saturday, universities have said that they are mindful of the plight of international students.

Universities Minister, Michelle Donelan said: “I am pleased Universities UK has confirmed institutions will be flexible and do all they can to support students to progress to higher education.”

The death toll from coronavirus has risen to 13,044 with over 307,104 cases of infection worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University coronavirus tracker. The virus has spread to more than 171 countries and territories.

There are 5,018 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK with 233 deaths as of Saturday.

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