Dubai: A total of 57 more COVID-19 warriors from India have flown in to Dubai in the latest efforts to strengthen the UAE’s battle against the coronavirus.
The UAE Embassy in India announced the arrival of the medics, who followed three other batches who had flown in from India earlier, on Twitter.
“As an extension of efforts of @UAEembassyIndia & UAE’s keenness to fight COVID19 the embassy obtained necessary approvals from Indian authorities for travel of 3 groups of medical staff of @DHA_Dubai @Dubai_Ambulance @ASTERHealthcare of 57 healthcare workers from Cochin to Dubai,” the mission tweeted late on Saturday night.
Quoting the UAE Ambassador to India Dr. Ahmad Abdul Rahman Al Banna, Gulf News had first reported on June 2 that three more batches of medics were expected to fly in from India, following the arrival of the first three batches.
Speaking to Gulf News on Sunday, Al Banna said the groups of medics that landed in Dubai in the wee hours of Sunday were the ones he had referred to on June 2.
“Majority of them are new recruits,” he said, without specifying the number.
The rest of the medics are those who stuck back home during their holidays following the international flight suspensions and lockdown in India.
However, the envoy confirmed that 16 of the 57 are paramedics who will join the Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services (DCAS).
He said that the Aster group employees will also be joining DCAS and Dubai Health Authority (DHA).
Alisha Moopen, deputy managing director, Aster DM Healthcare, said 21 of the medics are employees of Aster and Medcare facilities.
“The returning Aster and Medcare medical staff from India would strengthen our efforts to provide quality care to Covid-19 patients in UAE,” she said in a statement to Gulf News.
“They would join the batch of 88 critical care medics who arrived in Dubai earlier and are actively involved in the UAE government’s efforts to provide the best care to Covid-19 patients. We are thankful to the UAE government, DHA, the Embassy in India and the Indian Consulate in Dubai for undertaking all the measures to expedite their safe return,” Moopen added.
Although they came from Kochi, Al Banna said not all the members in today’s groups are from Kerala. “There are people from other Indian states also. We gathered them in Kochi to take the flight to Dubai.”
More medics to be recruited from India
Al Banna said discussions are on to recruit more healthcare professionals from India to the UAE.
“If there is a need for some more, we will bring them soon. We are actually working on [bringing in] some more groups, mainly to have new recruits.”
He said the medics will be chosen from different parts of India, mostly from Kerala.
Though he did not have further details about the next phase, the envoy said “things are ongoing without any obstacles.”
With the arrival of the latest batches, the total number of doctors, nurses, paramedics and other medical professionals who were flown into the UAE from India reached 422.
In the first batches, 88 medics with the Aster DM Healthcare and 105 with the VPS Healthcare arrived, followed by 172 from the Apollo Hospitals Group.
Increased partnership in healthcare
Al Banna reiterated that the increased partnership between the UAE and India in healthcare sector during the pandemic once again proved the strong strategic ties between the friendly nations.
In a virtual meeting last week, Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, reviewed the prospects of further consolidating the strong bonds of cooperation between the UAE and India, with Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, India’s Minister of External Affairs.
Sheikh Abdullah spoke high of the ongoing cooperation between the two countries in the fight against COVID-19, hailing India’s dispatch of medical and nursing teams to the UAE in support of the country’s efforts to contain the pandemic.
He praised the distinguished role played by these teams in treatment of the coronavirus patients and their effective participation in the ‘UAE Volunteers’ campaign to stem the fallout of the global pandemic.
The UAE has also procured more than 12 million pills of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) from India. The UAE’s total requisition is 30 million pills, Al Banna had said.
Last month, the UAE had sent an aid plane containing seven metric tons of medical supplies to India to bolster the country’s efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.
On Sunday, Al Banna said the aid contained various personal protective equipment items, sanitizers and other medical materials to support the COVID-19 warriors in India.