Dubai: A Dubai-based teen has thanked the UAE for a ‘luxurious and surreal’ quarantine after returning from the US where he was stranded for more than two months.
Vishv Gupta, 18, has been enjoying a complimentary five-star experience at JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai, whiling away quarantine time in his room since arriving on May 29.
Unable to return during spring break, the college freshman, who hails from New Delhi, was stranded from mid-March to the end of May in the US because of the flight bans due to the coronavirus pandemic.
After “going through the process five times”, the business analytics major at Rutgers University, New Jersey, finally got UAE clearance to travel on a special flight from Chicago to Dubai.
The UAE is arranging flights and approvals for residents stranded aboard. Those returning are tested for COVID-19 at the airport and during the two-week quarantine at hotels hosting arrivals.
Gupta said he has tested negative twice for COVID-19 so far.
Gupta had initially left New Jersey for Orlando to be with a relative, before flying to Chicago to catch his Dubai flight, which also flew home other stranded students.
‘It was emotional’
From Dubai airport, he was chauffeured to the hotel in a black electric Tesla sedan.
“Each student got into each Tesla and we rode to the hotel. The roads were completely empty. It was a pleasant ride and so good to see Dubai after months of trying to get home. Driving through the empty roads, it was a bit emotional,” Gupta said.
From his hotel room, he has been enjoying “luxurious food; it must cost thousands of dirhams – I’ve got a tummy already”.
During quarantine, Gupta is staying in touch with family, friends and university over the phone and Zoom, sending selfies from the room and views of the Dubai skyline.
“Everything is exquisite; it’s basically a staycation. I take bubble baths, enjoy the great views from my room, it’s very relaxing. I’ve got a wide variety of meals, desserts; it never gets boring. They [hotel staff] keep asking me, ‘anything you need, just let us know’. They’re so accommodating,” he said.
“My friends back in America, when I show them my quarantine, they just want to come to Dubai. It shows how far the UAE government goes for you, in safety and in style. I really appreciate what they are doing for all of us.”
Gupta said his sister is stranded in Canada, where she is studying, and he hopes she too will be able to travel home soon.