coronavirus news: Indian scientists in Iran not been able to establish makeshift lab for COVID-19 test: Official sources

NEW DELHI: Indian scientists who are stationed in Iran to establish a makeshift laboratory for testing stranded Indians for novel coronavirus have not been given permission by authorities to do so citing security reasons, official sources said.

Swab samples of around 1,200 Indians have been brought to India from Iran so far for carrying out laboratory tests and check whether they are infected with the deadly virus.

Four scientists from ICMR-NIV, Pune are stationed in Tehran and are collecting the samples.

“They said they could not set up a makeshift lab facility as authorities there said they will not be able to provide them security. They are still stationed in Tehran and are collecting swab samples,” a source said.

Fifty-eight Indians were brought back home from coronavirus-hit Iran in a military transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) in the first batch, while the second batch of 44 Indian pilgrims arrived from Iran’s Qom on Friday.

An Iran Air flight carrying Indian pilgrims stranded in coronavirus-hit Iran landed at the airport in Mumbai on Friday afternoon, an official said.

Iran is one of the worst-affected countries by the coronavirus outbreak and the government has been working on plans to bring back the Indians stranded there.

India is preparing to set up a makeshift laboratory in Iran to test 1,200 of its citizens stuck in the country before evacuating them, officials said on Wednesday.

Those stranded in Iran are mostly students and pilgrims.

Also, there are 1,000 Indian fishermen who are stranded in Iran.

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