200130 kerala coronavirus
Picture for illustrative purposes: medical professionals in India Image Credit: Reuters

Dubai: The UAE Embassy in India announced on Saturday that Indian authorities had permitted 88 doctors and nurses to travel to the UAE to help with efforts to beat coronavirus.

A tweet from the UAE Embassy in India, said, “Within the framework of the keenness of @UAEEmbassyIndia to support efforts of UAE in combating #Covid_19, Indian authorities allowed to send first batch of medical team of 88 specialists, doctors & nurses to UAE within short period to support UAE’s efforts in fighting #Corona.”

"This reflects the special importance the Indian government attaches to bilateral relations between two countries," the tweet added.

Consul General of India in Dubai, Vipul told Gulf News that these medical professionals include those, who got stuck while on leave back home, and the recently recruited healthcare professionals to help in the UAE’s battle against the pandemic.

“The MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) has given its approval [for flying them into the UAE] and further formalities will be completed soon,” he said on Saturday.

Vipul said the Indian Consulate and the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation were involved in processing the request for healthcare professionals from the UAE.

“We received the request from DHA through MOFAIC for healthcare personnel and some medical equipment to be brought to the UAE from India in the wake of COVID-19.”

He said the same request had also been taken up with India’s Ministry of External Affairs by the UAE Embassy in Delhi.

A diplomatic source explained that foreign ministers of some of the Gulf countries had requested that their medical personnel who are presently in India be allowed to go back during their recent discussions with the India’s External Affairs Minister Subramanyam Jaishankar.

“EAM assured that the matter would be given sympathetic consideration,” the source added.

Jaishankar had telephone conversations with the foreign ministers of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and Palestine last week.

However, it was not clear if that topic was taken up during the discussion between the ministers of the UAE and India.

India had earlier sent a 15-member rapid response medical team to Kuwait to provide technical expertise and help that country in its battle against the coronavirus pandemic.

India has also approved the export of hydroxychloroquine, a medicine found to be aiding the treatment of COVID-19, to friendly countries including the UAE.

There are more than 3.4million Indians living in the UAE and Indian healthcare professionals form a majority of employees in many healthcare facilities here.

Some of them have offered their voluntary service to the UAE health authorities in tiding over the worst health crisis that has hit the world.

Indian missions in the UAE had also mobilised the voluntary service of some of their healthcare professionals to support the UAE in its isolation facilities and to provide tele-medicine and counselling services through the missions’ helplines.