Coronavirus Pandemic

6,500 pregnant Indian women register to fly home from UAE

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Dubai Filed on May 6, 2020 | Last updated on May 7, 2020 at 01.06 am
coronavirus, covid-19, repatriation, evacuation, indian embassy, indian consulate
Remya Rajamma, a 33-year-old pregnant woman from Alappuzha, Kerala, with her husband and child.


Eleven pregnant women are scheduled to fly out of Dubai to Kozhikode, Kerala, on the first repatriation flight to India, starting Thursday, May 7.

At least 6,500 pregnant women in the UAE, in various stages of their pregnancy, have registered their interest to return home to India, Khaleej Times has learnt. A large number of the women could be from Kerala as almost 9,000 pregnant women, from across the world, have registered with the non-resident Keralites Affairs' (NORKA), the Kerala government's official portal.

The women and their families in the UAE have appealed to diplomatic missions to consider them for immediate travel, citing a lack of medical insurance and financial inability to have their babies in the UAE.

Remya Rajamma, a 33-year-old pregnant woman from Alappuzha, Kerala, said she is a little over 34 weeks pregnant. She, along with her 18-month-old baby and husband, are eagerly waiting to travel to India to have their baby. "I have to travel before May 10. I cannot travel after that. The doctor has said it is not safe," Remya told Khaleej Times. She does not have medical insurance.

As the family awaits a positive response from the consulate, diplomatic sources at the Consulate General of India in Dubai have said that priority to travel immediately will be first given to women who have crossed 28 weeks of pregnancy.

"The registered cases are at various stages of their pregnancy, not all of them are in advanced stages. We are also making travel arrangements for those accompanying them," said Press consul Neeraj Aggarwal.

11 pregnant women to fly on May 7

Approximately 11 pregnant women are scheduled to fly out of Dubai to Kozhikode, Kerala, on the first repatriation flight to India, starting Thursday, May 7, said Aggarwal. The mission is taking into consideration each emergency case and looking into appeals made by the families on social media platforms.

On Thursday, India begins the 'Vande Bharat Mission', a mammoth exercise to repatriate several hundred thousand stranded Indian citizens across the world. Almost 200,000 Indians in the UAE have registered on the web portal collecting data of persons wishing to return home.

Pregnant women face multiple problems

Khaleej Times reached out to several pregnant families in the UAE, all of whom said they are willing to risk the travel amid the Covid-19 coronavirus crisis, especially to Kerala since the state relaxed quarantine norms for returnees on Wednesday.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said non-resident Keralites returning from abroad from Thursday, except pregnant women and children, will remain in state-run quarantine centres.

Remya Rajamma said, "When I gave birth to my older child, I left my job here in Dubai and returned to Kerala for the older one's delivery." Rajamma travels to Dubai every six months for visa renewal purposes. "This was also supposed to be a short trip, but I got stuck here." The clock is ticking in Remya's case as she has only three safe days to travel. "I have registered on Norka and on the embassy website. Now, I am waiting," she said.

For many of these parents, this is their first child. Keralite Rahul Ramesh's wife Anagha Anandam is eight months pregnant. Strangely, Ramesh has received permission to travel on Thursday to Kozhikode. However, his wife's name was not on the first list of travellers.

"I've asked the consulate to replace my name with hers. We don't have medical insurance. I am okay with her travelling, I can stay back. Her due date is June 15, and the last day she can travel is May 11," said Ramesh.

After consideration from the consulate, Ramesh said he and his wife will leave on the next flight to Kochi.

Rehna Varghese, a 28-year-old who is also on the seventh month of pregnancy said, "I have a job here, but because I was already pregnant when I started working, my company could not extend medical insurance for this purpose."


Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88

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