Coronavirus Pandemic

Combating coronavirus: Only expats who test negative can go home Filed on April 14, 2020 | Last updated on April 14, 2020 at 01.48 pm
coronavirus, covid-19, negative test, Ahmed Abdul Rahman Al Banna, UAe ambassador

The ambassador said India and UAE share great friendship and the bilateral relations between the two countries have matured into a comprehensive strategic partnership.

The UAE will test Indian and other expats for Covid-19 and not allow suspect cases to travel home, the UAE's Ambassador to India, Dr. Ahmed Abdul Rahman Al Banna, has said, putting to rest concerns about UAE expats spreading the infection in their home countries.

"We will do the Covid-19 tests before anyone boards the flight and leaves UAE. If they test positive, they will stay in the UAE until they get well. They will be flown back only after their tests come negative," Al Banna told Khaleej Times over phone.

The envoy said UAE has offered to assist all countries in repatriating their citizens, who want to go back but on two conditions.

"The first condition being they should be tested Covid-19 negative. And second is, those who are going back should do so voluntarily."

Al Banna said the UAE's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC) has sent out a "note verbale" to all embassies in the country and offered UAE's assistance to repatriate their citizens.

The ambassador said India and UAE share great friendship and the bilateral relations between the two countries have matured into a comprehensive strategic partnership.

Al Banna denied as baseless statements falsely attributed as his response to the Indian Supreme court's ruling on Monday that citizens cannot be flown back immediately.

India's apex court has ruled that Indian expatriates stranded abroad cannot be flown back immediately. All petitions before India's apex court which sought directions or orders to 'bring back Indians stranded in various countries abroad' have been deferred for four weeks, according to reports by the Indian media.

The UAE has earlier announced that it will review labour relations with countries refusing to repatriate citizens who wish to return home.

State news agency WAM reported on Sunday that the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation was considering imposing restrictions including quota system on work visas on the non-cooperating countries.

The ministry is also considering to suspend the memoranda of understanding (MoU) between the Ministry of Labour and defaulting partner countries.


Anjana Sankar

Anjana Sankar is a UAE-based journalist chasing global stories of conflict, migration and human rights. She has reported from the frontlines of the wars in Yemen and Syria and has extensively written on the refugee crisis in Bangladesh, Iraq and Europe. From interviewing Daesh militants to embedding with the UAE army in Yemen, and covering earthquakes, floods, terrorist attacks and elections, she has come out scathe-free from the most dangerous conflict zones of the world. Riding on over 14 years of experience, Anjana currently is an Assistant Editor with Khaleej Times and leads the reporting team. She often speaks about women empowerment on her Facebook page that has 40,000 plus followers.

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