Dubai: Indian expats in the UAE have raised several questions related to the new mandatory quarantine measures announced for passengers from the UAE to India from Wednesday.
Though India on Monday announced a 14-day compulsory quarantine for all passengers travelling or transiting through the UAE, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar from 1200 GMT on Wednesday (4pm in the UAE), where exactly these passengers would be quarantined remains unclear.
Many expats have taken to Twitter to ask the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Indian Consulate in Dubai to clear their doubts.
Most of them have urged the missions to clarify whether passengers from here would be quarantined at home, a government facility, hospitals or anywhere else.
When asked about this, the Indian Ambassador to the UAE Pavan Kapoor told Gulf News on Tuesday morning: “It is not yet clear to us. We are waiting for more details from India tomorrow.”
Since different states have already started taking different methods of quarantine, he acknowledged that further guidance from the central government was needed to confirm the way forward.
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While Kerala had started home quarantining all international passengers, Delhi has offered pay-and-use quarantine facilities in three premier hotels near the airport, apart from the government quarantine facilities available.
The ambassador said Delhi is also allowing asymptomatic passengers to be home quarantined. “They will be monitored by a network of people.”
While some quarantined people have posted videos on social media praising the facilities at a Delhi quarantine building, some others posted videos deploring the situation at a government facility, also in the capital. Reports from India said many international passengers are scared of the stigma attached to quarantine and do not wish to be quarantined at hospitals or government facilities unless they have symptoms.
An airport official in Lucknow told Gulf News over the phone that there was confusion among airport authorities about the new quarantine measures.
“We have no instruction on where we should send the passengers for quarantine. What we understand is that this is for people transiting through UAE and three other Gulf countries. If it is applicable to all passengers coming from these countries and we have to make arrangements for their quarantine, it will be a big concern. We are waiting for further instructions on this.”
Getting inked or geo-tagged?
Indian expats have also raised questions about latest reports from Mumbai beginning stamp ink marks on the hands of people placed under home quarantine.
“People who are advised to be #HomeQuarantined will now #GetInked at the back of the palm. This #BadgeOfHonour will serve as a constant reminder, for 14 days. For others, it gets easy to spot and remind them to return home. One worry less!” the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation tweeted.
“Ink for the #BadgeOfHonour will be the indelible ink that is used to mark voters during elections. In addition to the back of the hand, we may add other variants too.”
The tweets were accompanied with images of people showing their hands that have been inked with the stamp “Proud to protect Mumbaikars. Home quarantined till March 30, 2020.”
Meanwhile in Kerala, the state-government is geo-tagging primary and secondary contacts of patients who tested positive COVID-19 who are home quarantined under government surveillance.
However, it is not clear if there is any plan to use GPS facilities to geo-tag all those who are getting home quarantined due to international travel in the wake of reports that some people are not abiding by the instructions of the government.