Arim with his mum Samreen
Arim with his mum Samreen Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: An Indian child has finally been discharged from hospital after five weeks. But his troubles are far from over.

Seven-year-old Arim can’t return to his Abu Dhabi home as he doesn’t have a travel permit to enter the emirate which has imposed movement restrictions to contain the spread of the coronavirus, and to step-up the COVID-19 testing drive in the city.

The travel restrictions began on June 2 but were extended for a third week. As things stand, they remain in place until June 23.

Abu Dhabi residents can leave the capital without a permit but will require one to re-enter. However, Arim’s Abu Dhabi-based father Asim Zafar hasn’t had any luck to get an online permit for his son and wife who have been stuck in Dubai since June 18.

“Since Arim’s discharge from hospital last Thursday, I have applied for permits multiple times on both the dedicated website and App but each time my application has got rejected, I am at my wit’s end,” said the father of two, who works in the construction sector.

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Arim, 7, who suffers from a neurological disorder underwent prolonged treatment at Mediclinic City Hospital in Dubai Image Credit: Supplied

Sudden seizures

Arim was rushed to Abu Dhabi’s Burjeel Hospital on May 3 after he suddenly developed seizures. He spent 10 days in ICU before being shifted to Dubai’s Mediclinic City Hospital where he remained in intensive care until June 6. He was discharged on June 18. But his hopes of going home were dashed when he couldn’t get a travel permit despite several attempts. Left with no optiion, Arim’s mum Samreen, who was with him in hospital, tried to drive into Abu Dhabi, but they were turned away at the border.

“I tried to explain my situation and even showed hospital discharge papers but I wasn't allowed in,” claimed Samreen.

The mother and son are now living at a relative’s house in Bur Dubai, waiting to go home.

Zafar said he’s worried about his family. “Arim needs to start occupational and physiotherapy immediately. He’s still recovering from a neurological condition. I haven’t seen him since June 1. I dread going to Dubai as I fear I won’t be allowed to return. I have a younger son who is two-years-old. I am looking after him in my wife’s absence. I urge authorities to consider our plight and allow my wife and son back in Abu Dhabi,” he said.