Dubai/Abu Dhabi: Around 2,500 Indians have approached Indian missions in the UAE seeking help to be flown home during the coronavirus lockdown back home, top Indian diplomats told Gulf News on Sunday.
The Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Indian Consulate in Dubai together have received requests from “a little more than 1,000 individuals” while the latter has received an additional request from an employer who has laid-off around 1,000 Indian workers.
According to the Indian Ambassador to the UAE Pavan Kapoor, the missions have not been bombarded with mass requests from the people who wish to take an immediate flight home unlike widespread reports on social media.
Most of the individuals who have expressed their interest to return home are visitors and those who lost their jobs, he said.
Consul General of India in Dubai, Vipul said his mission had received nearly 1000 requests via email and phone from people who want to return home.
“A majority of them are visit visa holders. Just this morning (Sunday), we got information about another large group of around 1,000 Indian workers who have lost jobs. The employer has got in touch to know the options to send them back home as early as possible.”
The missions have also been approached on their social media pages by people who wish fly back home.
“We want to go back home to our country. Our families want us in this difficult time. Please help us to fly back to home at any cost if u want to conduct test conduct it and take us back to India …Please help us,” one such tweet to the consulate posted on Sunday said.
However, the diplomatic heads refuted unverified reports that claim tens of thousands of Indians are scrambling to fly home during the pandemic.
They added that the missions have been aiding hundreds of workers, who have been left in the lurch by their employers, with provisions.
The Indian government had said that flight services cannot be resumed during the lockdown period, which is now set to be further extended.
The Ambassador on Saturday had told Gulf News that the government would assist its citizens wishing to return home in a phased manner once the lockdown and flight suspension end.
He cited the safety of the people who wish to return home and that of their families as the reason for India not making immediate arrangements for flight operations.
The Consul General added that the mission on Sunday held a meeting with the local authorities in Dubai and offered all possible support in the UAE’s fight against COVID-19 outbreak.
“We are looking towards supplementing the efforts of the local authorities by requesting for the service of Indian healthcare professionals already in the UAE to serve in quarantine facilities being arranged by the local authorities,” he said.
Both the missions have also opened 24x7 helpline numbers for Indian nationals to approach them in case of emergency.
Those in Dubai and northern emirates can call the consulate on 0565463903/ 0543090575. Those in Abu Dhabi can reach the embassy on 0508995583