Coronavirus: 30 pregnant women among 347 Indians to fly home from UAE

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Indian passengers at Dubai airport, set to fly to Kochi.

Dubai - The other flight today is to Kochi, which will take off from Dubai.

By Dhanusha Gokulan and Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Tue 12 May 2020, 1:32 PM

Last updated: Tue 12 May 2020, 2:34 PM

The Air India repatriation flight from Abu Dhabi took off with 170 passengers to the Indian city of Hyderabad on Monday evening. The flight to Kochi from Dubai's Terminal 2 took off at 3.40pm.

Two passengers at Abu Dhabi airport failed to clear the Covid-19 IGM/IGG rapid test and one had issues with immigration clearance. Under the Vande Bharat Mission, this was the first flight from the UAE Capital to the Telangana state.

Unlike the delay caused on Thursday, the opening day of repatriation flight to Kochi, the entire process, including medical screening, was streamlined and the plane took off for Hyderabad on time from Abu Dhabi International Airport.
As many as 177 passengers flew to Kochi from Dubai on Monday, the Consul General of India to Dubai, Vipul, confirmed. These include 30 pregnant women, senior citizens, a few medical cases, and workers.

"Many people have come to the airport in the hope that there will be no-shows. We understand their situation, as it is not easy for medical cases and women in advanced pregnancies. However, what I have assured is that they will be on the top of the priority list in the coming flights," he said.

Commenting on the issue of selecting people to travel to India, Vipul said, "We should hopefully get more flights in the next week. We are very careful in contacting people and taking people who have a compelling reason to return home." He has requested patience from stranded Indian citizens, and confirmed there will be more flights in the coming week.

"You must understand that the Kerala community is very large here, and, therefore, not everyone will be accommodated in the first few flights. We are trying to do our best by accommodating as many people as possible. Next week, our priority is to take in as many pregnant ladies as possible, especially those in advanced stages. Hopefully, we should have a schedule of flights soon," explained Vipul.

He thanked the UAE authorities for their support in conducting this exercise. "The whole process is going very smoothly. The UAE authorities have really helped us, especially with the IgG and IgM tests," added Vipul.
Following a day's break on Sunday, the sixth and seventh emergency repatriation flights from the UAE to India, carrying over 300 distressed passengers, are all set to take off from Dubai and Abu Dhabi on Monday.

An Air India Express flight to Kochi, IX 454, will take off from Dubai, and another flight to Hyderabad will depart from Abu Dhabi shortly.

A majority of the passengers on board the flight to Kochi were pregnant women, senior citizens on visit and tourist visas, and expats wishing to perform the last rites of their deceased parents and relatives.

A few of them suffered job losses and some families were seen at the airport as well. Officials from the Consulate General of India at the site in Dubai confirmed to Khaleej Times that over 30 pregnant women will be flying home today. Medical screenings and check-in formalities were being organised by Dubai Health Authority and airport officials.

Suma Manoharan, an expat who is 35 weeks pregnant, told Khaleej Times she got a ticket to fly at the very last moment. She said, "I've been trying to leave home to Kerala as I am staying alone here, without my family or my husband. I am really happy that I can fly home now."

Approximately 11 women were also on the waiting list, in case there are no-shows or passengers cannot fly due to immigration issues.

Meenu Vincent, a pregnant mom and a nurse with the Ministry of Health and Protection (MoHAP) on the waiting list is 35 weeks pregnant as well. "I am currently on maternity leave. My husband left to India, and he got stuck there. Our plan was always to leave for India to give birth to my baby, since I am all alone here without my family with me."
One of the oldest passengers to take the flight is 90-year-old Thresia Joseph, who will be accompanied by her 61-year-old son Joy Joseph. From Kottayam, Kerala, Thresia arrived in the UAE on a visit visa to stay with her children in the first week of March.

Her son Joy said, "We came here on a month-long tourist visa. However, due to the Covid-19 situation we got stranded here. Today, we can finally fly home." Thresia's name is the first one on the list of passengers to be leaving today.

Here are the day's updates:














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