: A total of 2,298 Malaysians are still stranded in 47 countries due to, among others, flight cancellations and travel restrictions imposed by these countries following the COVID-19 outbreak.
Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Kamarudin Jaffar said his ministry had so far brought home 4,811 Malaysians from several affected countries.
"The biggest group of Malaysians still stranded overseas was in India at 1,016 people, followed by Thailand (172), New Zealand (136), Pakistan (128), Vietnam (122), Saudi Arabia (83), Australia (77 people), the Philippines (66), Sri Lanka (65) and Nepal (43)," he said in a statement here today.
He said these Malaysians had gone overseas for short-term visits such as holidays and to attend to family matters.
Kamarudin said two Malindo Air chartered flights, OD210 and OD222, carrying 270 Malaysians who were stranded in Chennai and Trichy arrived at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) at 4.15 am and 4.51 pm today respectively.
"A total of three Malindo Air chartered flights from New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai are expected to arrive on April 5 and 6. As of 5 pm today, 2,567 Malaysians stranded in India have been flown home," he said.
On some recent video footage of the poor conditions of quarantine centres in India, Kamarudin said Malaysians quarantined by Indian authorities were involved in a tabligh rally held at Markaz Nizamudin on March 10 to 13.
"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Malaysian High Commission in New Delhi has been in contact with the government of India and in particular the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MEA) of India whereby they have pledged their full attention and co-operation.
''I have also directed a representative of the Malaysian High Commission in New Delhi to visit and provide appropriate assistance to Malaysians housed in the quarantine centres," he said.
Meanwhile, Kamarudin, who is also the Foreign Ministry's COVID-19 Task Force chairman, said 66 passengers consisting of 43 Malaysians, 22 Singaporeans and a United Kingdom citizen (partner of a Malaysian) arrived at KLIA at 8.05 pm today from Nepal.
At 10.30 pm today, 115 Malaysians stranded in Vietnam were scheduled to arrive at KLIA via commercial flight MH767.
"We ask for the co-operation of Malaysians to be patient and understand that the process of bringing our people home requires negotiations and sometimes they take time.
''The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is committed to ensuring that the welfare, safety and health of Malaysians who are still stranded abroad will continue to be a priority, "he said.