Dubai: After Dubai’s Emirates airline confirmed the extension of travel suspension for passengers from India to the UAE till May 14, several Indian expats voiced their concern over travel plans going haywire.
The announcement from the UAE flag carrier, which was posted on its website on Thursday night, indicated an impending announcement about the wider implementation of the suspension rule by all airlines operating in the sector.
This left UAE residents stuck in India and expatriates who were scheduled to travel home from UAE worried about their jobs and families. They also expressed concerns that the travel restrictions might be further extended as India, which is reeling under an unprecedented health crisis, was predicted to see the peak in COVID-19 cases by mid-May
‘My husband is stuck back home’
A Dubai-based teacher, who did not wish to be named, said her husband who had gone to visit his ailing father in Delhi was stuck over there. “Our father is better now, but my husband can’t come back. He works for a bank and his leave ends today,” she said on Thursday. “We are concerned about his absence from work. We are not sure when the flights will resume. Whenever he manages to fly back he will also have to follow seven days of home quarantine, even if he tests negative on arrival, according to company policy.”
She said she was also finding it difficult to manage work and home single-handedly. “My child and I have to go to school and it has become difficult for me to manage work and home all by myself,” she added.
‘My husband can’t travel home’
Abu Dhabi resident Shraddha Dhuri, whose mother-in-law has been admitted to intensive care unit in Mumbai due to COVID-19, said her family was in two minds about travelling home as they were not sure when her husband would be able to return and resume work.
“He has recently changed his job. His company is very supportive and they are ready to give him leave, but the only concern is we don’t know when he will be able to fly back and if it would affect his work.”
She said his mother’s condition was stable, but she still needed oxygen support. “In case if she doesn’t get better, at least my husband will have to travel, no matter what happens in the future. His brother and sister-in-law are also COVID-positive. Both of them are stable, but he is in hospital and she is home quarantined. We are worried because they are all affected and it is a big struggle to arrange medical resources.”
An occupational therapist, Shraddha said one of her colleagues, who is on vacation in India, also could not fly back due to the travel restriction.
Health-care workers can’t return
Among others who are stuck in India are many health-care professionals working with various government and private hospitals in India.
“My friend, who is an emergency nurse, was supposed to fly back on May 1. She is upset after hearing about the extension of the travel suspension,” said a doctor in Dubai.
She said health-care workers were hopeful that the authorities would consider adding them to the list of passengers who are exempted to fly from India to the UAE.
Gulf News had first highlighted a plea from the health-care professionals stranded in India to give them exemption to return and resume their work.
Those who spoke to the newspaper from India were worried that the functioning of the health-care establishments, where they were employed, would be affected because of the unplanned absence of critical staff members.
Passengers, who are currently exempted from the travel suspension, include Emiratis, diplomatic and official-mission passport holders or passengers with a UAE golden residency visa and those travelling on business jets.