No flight spotted yet, Indian students explore routes via Sri Lanka, Dubai and Hong Kong to reach China

After two years of pandemic, China has finally opened its borders to Indian students pursuing higher studies in its universities. After having no luck in making chartered plane arrangements to reach China, Indian students are now finding different routes on their own, including via Sri Lanka, Dubai, Hong Kong and Myanmar, between others

Students who managed to reach China amid the uncertainty are holding interactive sessions on social media so that others still don’t figure out which route to take.

Mumbai-based Sudipti Mundirinti, who is a student at Nanjing Medical University, has arrived in China via Hong Kong and said, “Even if there was luck in arranging a chartered flight to China, it would have been expensive. The flight alone would have cost more than 1 lakh. Whereas to travel around Hong Kong I have paid a little over 50,000 for air tickets. We must have an additional money arrangement to adhere to Hong Kong and China’s strict Covid protocol because you have to get tested for Covid and also pay for quarantine facilities once in China.”

That quarantine expense, as Sudipti shared, can vary depending on the city you land in and what facility you’re being taken to. But it is between 2000 to 6000 rupees per day.

Although visas are issued after No Objection Certificates (NOCs) from universities to return to campus, getting to China is a struggle for students. In the absence of direct flights from India, there was a growing demand from students for the Government of India to arrange chartered flights.

“But there is still no development on this front (charter flights). Meanwhile, with the deadlines to reach institutes, students have started to find different ways on their own,” said Andrew Mathews, president of the Association of Parents of Foreign Medical Graduates (FMGPA), which wrote to the Union Ministry of External Affairs (MHA) last month. ), requesting to organize charter flights.

According to the information provided by Sudipti, one must have a negative Covid test to land in Hong Kong, where one must stay for three days to ensure two negative Covid tests (48 hours and 24 hours) to obtain the green code and the plate. a flight to China

“On arrival in China, during the first 10 days of central quarantine, the administration can allocate any available facilities and the user must pay whatever the charges are. During the next seven days of quarantine, a place. Fortunately, I landed in Nanjing, so I didn’t need the third stage of quarantine, which is again for seven days. This applies to those who have to travel to China to get to their university. But how that this is available in the respective college, it is free,” said Sudipti, who took a flight to Hong Kong from Kochi on September 24 and arrived in China on September 28.

But that was because Sudipti did not have a single Covid-positive test report during the entire trip. But luck was not in favor of another student, who wanted to remain anonymous. “I was unwell with some vitamin deficiencies. But after getting a No Objection Certificate (NOC), visa and even travel tickets, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to resume my studies in offline mode at China. But on arrival in Hong Kong, I tested positive for Covid in a rapid antigen test (RAT) administered immediately. Understandably I had to quarantine in Hong Kong in the absence of a green code . It was only after the negative RTPCR report the next day that my process resumed,” said this student from Delhi.

Meanwhile, the plan to organize chartered planes does not dissolve completely. According to information provided by Indian students in China, a group formed by students to return to China has contacted Southern Airlines for arranging charter flights. “But the expenditure will be more than 10,000 renminbi (rnb) per student, which is more than Rs 1 lakh. And this will only be possible if we have around 250 students registering for the service,” said Dr Shahroz Khan Sherry, Nantong Medical University student and coordinator of Indian students in China.

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