Eid Al Adha: 20 Covid-19 frontliners from India arrive in UAE on special flights

Dubai - The medics, including doctors, nurses and paramedics were flown in on two special Air Arabia flights.


Saman Haziq

Published: Wed 21 Jul 2021, 3:15 AM

A group of 20 critical care medical staff landed in the UAE on Tuesday from India, Khaleej Times has learnt. After getting special approvals from the UAE authorities, NMC Healthcare announced that the medics, including doctors, nurses and paramedics were flown in on two special Air Arabia flights from Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram - they landed in Sharjah this morning.

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All 20 medics are critical care team members of NMC Royal Hospital, Sharjah.

This is the third batch of standard caregiver and Covid frontline staff that the group has flown from India in the last one month to help them resume their duties and support the UAE's fight against the pandemic.

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In June, the NMC group flew in a group of critical care staff on a chartered 8-seater flight from Mumbai. These included a cardiologist, intensivist, critical care and pulmonology expert, who upon arrival underwent their mandatory quarantine and tests as per national Covid guidelines.

Dr Sanjay Rajdev, Consultant Interventional Cardiology at NMC Speciality Hospital (Abu Dhabi), one of the passengers on this special flight, said: “I find myself incredibly grateful to have been able to come back and save at least two lives. These were two acute heart-attack patients whom I could operate and save.”

In another flight from India last week, NMC Healthcare got 49 of its staff, including 31 medicos, for its hospitals in Dubai: NMC Speciality Hospital, Al Nahda and NMC Royal Hospital, DIP and NMC Day Surgery Centre, Deira.

These Covid warriors are currently under mandatory quarantine and are expected to join soon, the group said in a statement.

NMC Healthcare added that in the next week or so it is planning to get over 80 of its staff members for its hospitals: NMC Speciality Hospitals at Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, NMC Royal Hospital, Khalifa City, Abu Dhabi and for NMC ProVita International Medical Center, Bareen International Hospital and NMC Clinics at Sharjah among others.

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These doctors, nurses and paramedics would be flying with special regulatory approvals via Cochin, Calicut, Thiruvananthapuram, Mumbai, Delhi, Coimbatore, Bengaluru and Chennai.

Michael Brenden Davis, CEO of NMC Healthcare, said: “The staff wanted to come back and serve their patients in these trying times. Accomplishing this required an incredible amount of coordination and logistics with multiple regulatory approvals.

"We worked in tandem with the various regulatory bodies, and the ease and speed with which the two regulatory bodies of healthcare and the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) processed the approvals, was truly incredible.”

Flight suspension from 16 countries

Passengers, including UAE residents, from India and 15 other countries have been denied entry into the UAE since April this year.

On Sunday, the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has said travel restrictions for inbound passengers from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Indonesia, Liberia, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Uganda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Zambia, will remain in place until further notice.

However, with special approvals from the NCEMA, employees belonging to essential functions as classified by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship are being allowed to travel into the UAE.

Thanks to this facility, healthcare groups such as Aster DM Healthcare and Zulekha Hospital have been able to bring in their stranded staff from India back to their homes and jobs in the Emirates.


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