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Mohammed Arshi Khan said he was eager to meet his brother and mother who had both tested positive for COVID-19 in May, but could not travel during the Eid holidays.. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: For the second year in a row, many expatriates based in the UAE were unable to travel home on the occasion of Eid Al Adha. Flight restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic have put paid to the plans of many Indians, Pakistanis and people of other nationalities, too, of flying home to be with their near and dear ones during the Eid holidays.

Gulf News caught up with some of the expatriate families in UAE, to find out how they were coping with the ‘new normal’ of having to spend yet another Eid away from home.

Meghna Khan, career and life coach, MK Counselling Services, said: “It’s that time of the year, again, when you want to be with your family and loved ones in order to spend the festive days together. Given the current scenario, no matter how much I would want to go back home in India, the instability over the COVID-19 situation in India and the indefinite flight cancellations made us stop thinking bout making a travel plan in the first place.”

“Even my in-laws and my parents advised us to be safe and not to travel. Thanks to video calls, we are at least able to stay connected,” she added.

Asad Abbas

Pakistani expatriate Asad Abbas, 35, working as a real estate agent in Dubai, said he was missing his wife and parents back home. “This is the second time I am not being able to spend Eid with my family. It hurts. But I am just dealing with the circumstances. I had made some plans with my friends here, though I still miss home,” Abbas said.

Mohammed Arshi Khan, 46, CEO of a private company in Dubai, said he was eager to meet his brother and mother who had both tested positive for COVID-19 in May. “My brother’s condition was quite serious. Post-COVID, he had several complications, including the dreaded Black Fungus. But he fought hard and came out of it all. My mother, who is a two-time cancer survivor, had also contracted the dreaded virus. I was worried sick about her. Given such a serious situation, I wanted to see my family at the earliest. My heart still aches for them, but my hands are tied. What do I do?”

He further said: “Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha are two festivals that are very important to us. This year, I have not been able to attend either with family. I had initially made plans for the summer, but now I am not heading home. Even if the flights reopen, I am unlikely to travel until I am sure that I won’t get stuck back home. Plus there is the added risk of being caught up in a likely ‘third wave’ of the pandemic.”

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Pakistani expatriate Hanifa Saleem. Image Credit: Supplied

Pakistani expatriate Hanifa Saleem was missing her mother-in-law who normally visits her in the UAE during the Eid festivities. “This year, the celebrations were subdued without her. However, once the flights resume, we will bring her over.”

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Hanifa said she did not want to risk travelling to Pakistan under the current circumstances. “It is too risky to travel. I hope things improve so we can all lead a normal life again.”