India Covid cases surge: UAE expats cancel Eid holiday plans

KT Photo: Juidin Bernarrd
KT Photo: Juidin Bernarrd

Dubai - Residents are having to put travel plans on hold yet again.



By SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Tue 20 Apr 2021, 3:23 PM

Last updated: Tue 20 Apr 2021, 3:24 PM

Many Indian residents have long been waiting for this year’s Eid Al Fitr, hoping to finally celebrate with their families back home after bearing with travel restrictions last year. But with the surge in Covid-19 cases in India, travel plans are — yet again — on shaky ground.

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This Eid, Sharjah entrepreneur Shahbaz Ali wanted to surprise his family, especially his daughter whom he hadn’t seen in two years. But as India’s daily Covid cases continued to rise past the 200,000 mark, he is starting to accept that he may not make it. “I have been cancelling my vacation to India for almost a year now,” said Shahbaz.

Another expat, an engineer, has been shelving his wedding plans since early 2020. He and his fiancee were all set to make it happen soon after Eid, but the chances are now getting slimmer by the day.

“My marriage was fixed in February last year. As we were in the middle of a pandemic, I had to postpone my wedding plans and avoid travel. I was expecting my big day soon after Eid, but considering the present situation in India, I have no other option but to postpone it again,” Abdul Muqseeth said.

Some residents who hail from the south Indian state of Kerala — where cases recently hit over 13,000 in a day — are determined to stay put and mark the Eid holiday in the Emirates.

“There has been a number of restrictions put in place in Kerala. I believe the government will impose more curbs as the cases surge on a daily basis. Eid in the UAE will be safe and peaceful,” said Nida, a homemaker.

Brothers Athar and Danish have decided that instead of flying home, they’re bringing their families to Dubai.

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“We have always celebrated Eid with my parents and did not want to miss it this year. So, we have invited our parents and family for a safe Eid celebration in Dubai,” they said.

For other expats, the consensus is it’s best to put travel on hold to avoid the possibility of getting stranded. “The government has been imposing restrictions to curb the spread. If the cases surge further, there could be a ban on air travel and returning to the UAE may be troublesome. I had experienced this situation last year, so I cancelled my vacation for now,” said Hannan Khatib.


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