Indian novelist stranded in Rome as embassy said to have “suspended services” due to Coronavirus

An Indian novelist – Janice Pariat – wrote on her Facebook page on Wednesday that she was stranded in Rome amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, with little help from the Indian embassy. She wanted to return to India, but had little information available.

“Stranded in Rome – with little help from the Indian embassy here who have been mostly unresponsive. They’ve “suspended embassy services” due to the virus outbreak. News from home tells us that apparently a medical team is meant to fly out from India to conduct tests as Italy’s overstretched health providers are only testing people who are showing symptoms,” she wrote.

Italy has been hit most after China by Coronavirus or COVID-19, and there have been 631 deaths from it. Over 10,000 people have tested positive, and streets are deserted all over the country with complete lockdown with the government asking people to not travel or leave home.

Pariat had earlier written about her inability (which other Indians in Rome faced as well) to board the Alitalia flight to New Delhi because the embassy had issued directives that they needed documents to show they were not infected by COVID-19. But doctors there were unable to give them the required certificate.

“It has been harrowing – hours of trying to make calls, being given multiple numbers, and conflicting information. And, of course, no compensation in sight… Home feels terribly far away,” she wrote on Facebook.

[Photograph of Janice Pariat/Facebook]

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