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Coronavirus Pandemic

Twins finally return to mum in Dubai as airspace opens up

Nandini Sircar/Dubai
Filed on June 24, 2020 | Last updated on June 24, 2020 at 06.48 am
covid-19, coronavirus, stranded, residents, Dubai, UAE, return, travel
The Bilal triplets reunited in Dubai.

The kids were among the stranded residents who recently received an approval to return to the UAE.

It was an emotional reunion for six-year-old twins Masuma and Sundas as they ran to their mother Naheed at the Dubai International Airport today. 

Thanks to the new system that facilitated the return of stranded UAE residents abroad from Monday, the kids are now back home after being stuck in Islamabad, Pakistan, since March. 

Residents are required to get an approval from Dubai's General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) before booking flight tickets.

As the Bilal siblings set foot in Dubai, they were greeted by their parents and triplet brother Haris.

Their mother, Naheed - who had been making all possible efforts to bring them back -  said she was glad the emirate opened up its skies once again.

"I am so grateful to the government of the UAE, people can now return to their families. Their flight was supposed to land at 11.35am but it landed half an hour early at 11am. We couldn't wait to see them," she said.

"My children and I used to cry so much over video calls and, finally, to see them in person and to be able to hold them again is a different experience."

Even the cabin crew member who accompanied the kids got emotional when she saw how the family was reunited, Naheed said.

Smooth journey

To welcome the little ones, the Bilal family even decorated their living room and made some special dishes.

"The moment they entered the house, they started playing with their toys. They were very excited to see the balloons all over the house, just like their birthday. I made chicken biriyani for them. Since morning, we've all been so busy and excited," said Naheed. 

Naheed's sister-in-law, Shumila Shabib - who was a passenger on the same flight - said the journey was smooth, with all the precautionary measures in place.

Shumila, a Dubai resident, said: "Under the new GDRFA rule, Naheed got approvals for the travel within 5 minutes. The system is really efficient. She applied at 2pm yesterday and at 2.05pm she received the approval."

Seamless process

Another Dubai resident who returned to the emirate from Karachi on Monday was Sofiya Kulsoom.

Sofiya said she was surprised at how seamless the whole process was. 

"All the formalities were so smooth and I didn't face any bumps in the process. I had applied for my ICA approval on June 12 and received the approval on  June 14. My mother immediately booked tickets and I finally returned yesterday after four months," she told Khaleej Times. 

"The journey back home was also quite nice. In the aircraft, people left gaps in between. In case you wanted to dispose of your used mask on the flight, the cabin crew would get a separate garbage bag and nobody was allowed to dispose of masks and gloves in the seat pockets. 

"Upon arrival, swabs were taken and at every step there were people assisting us," Sofiya added.


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