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Covid-19: Vaccinated Indian expats appeal for UAE return

Saman Haziq/Dubai
Filed on May 24, 2021
Reuters

With flight ban till June 14 and charter flights out of bounds, vaccinated residents seek exemption to return.


Fully-vaccinated expats stuck in India have made an urgent plea to UAE authorities to let them return.

With the flight ban now extended to June 14 and charter flights (the only option to return to the UAE) from India restricted only for specific categories, vaccinated residents appealed to UAE authorities to add them to this category to allow them to return.

“I would sincerely like to request the UAE government to please start the flights from India to UAE at least for fully vaccinated people,” said Dubai resident Shikha Rath, who got vaccinated before rushing to India on May 21 following the death of her father due to Covid-19. “I came to India last week owing to my mother’s critical health condition. I have lost my father recently and my mother was left absolutely alone. She started getting sick and was unable to recover. I left everything and came to be with her and I’m glad I did that. It has been just four days since I came and she has recovered fully.”

Rath says her recently-launched small business is at risk if she doesn’t return soon. “I am a responsible and fully-vaccinated UAE resident and I understand my responsibility therefore I have been taking all precautions. I have my own small-scale business in Dubai and if I don’t fly back by June, I will start incurring financial losses,” she said.

UAE residents Ilfa Sadaf and her elder sister, 20 and 23 respectively, reached India on April 21 to give their university exams, but are stuck in their hostel alone. “ It was a tough decision to go to India, but I was called by our university to give my final exams in person. But the day I reached our college in Karnataka, we were told that exams were postponed. It has been a tough one month, but we have taken the Covishield vaccine in India.

“I urgently request UAE authorities to allow students who are vaccinated (Covishield) to travel back as staying alone without family is depressing and traumatising and unsafe due to rising Covid cases in India. We are not Emiratis, but the UAE is our home and has always treated us like its own.”

Dubai-based businessman Sagar Chandiramani who travelled to India in April on a medical emergency has been stuck ever since. “Dubai has been our home for the last 30 years and since we are completely vaccinated, we request the UAE government to allow us, vaccinated residents, to get back home,” said Chandiramani.

“I got vaccinated in Dubai early on in February and since my father had to get a small treatment done in Mumbai we flew down confidently as we had taken our vaccination. My dad got his treatment done, but we are now unable to fly back. I am worried for him more than me and want to take him back to the UAE soon as the cases have reached a record high in India and I do not want to expose him to any danger at this stage.”

Another Sharjah based entrepreneur, Shabaz Ali who is stuck in India, said he is struggling to keep his business afloat without being present in the UAE.

“I hope the UAE allows vaccinated residents back to the country so we can get on with our work safely. I took my vaccination early on in Sharjah and had to go to India due to some work-related matters, but now it’s been a month and I haven’t been able to get back to work and my projects and payments are all stuck…Currently I’m signing payment cheques from here and sending them via courier”

It’s been a month since flights from India to the UAE were suspended. While the UAE initially banned flights from April 24 to May 4, it has been extended until June 14.

saman@khaleejtimes.com





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