Hearing about the news of his mother’s condition getting worse, an Indian man in Dubai quit his job to see her, but she died while he was in mandatory quarantine.
Aamir Khan flew to Delhi on May 13 and started his 14-day quarantine and on Saturday he got the news of his mother’s death.
According to Press Trust of India (PTI), he could not even attend her last rites at their home in Rampur on Sunday. His quarantine would end soon but he wasn't allowed to leave, despite new regulations allowing those whose relatives have died to quarantine at home.
On Sunday, the day of his mother's funeral, the Indian government announced revised guidelines for international arrivals. It divided the 14-day quarantine into two. First, a seven days paid institutional quarantine at the traveller's own cost, followed by seven days' isolation at home with self-monitoring of health.
Indian authorities also announced that home quarantine may be permitted for 14 days for certain individuals. People with cases of “human distressed”, pregnancy, death in the family, serious illness and parents accompanied by children below 10 years, as assessed by the states, could be given special treatment.
"I showed the news updates to the authorities... that the guidelines have been revised and I should be allowed to go and will take all precautions. I was ready to take a test too but nothing worked in my favour," Khan was quoted as saying.
Coronavirus impact: Emotional loss
Reportedly, Khan had initially planned to come to India in March and spend a month with his mother who had been diagnosed with liver cirrhosis in November last year.
"We will learn to live with the virus but the emotional losses it is causing will remain with us forever. I spent last two months with only one agenda that I have to meet my mother. I put everything at stake because I was determined to do this," Khan was quoted as saying.
However, restrictions forced him to wait.
"I struggled for two months, making several rounds to the embassy, to come home. Finally I could board a repatriation flight on May 13 from UAE to Delhi," he said.
Upon arrival, he was sent to a quarantine centre, a private hotel he is paying for, for 14 days.
"On the eighth day, I told the representatives from SDM [Sub-Divisional Magistrate] office that I really need to go to meet my mother. They told me they need to take special permission. More days went by, and I got a call that my mother passed away. I pleaded the authorities to let me go for the last rites, but I wasn't allowed to," he was quoted as saying.
When he finally got a ticket for the repatriation flight after several rounds to the India Embassy, his workplace said that he was only allowed to take leave for 20 days.
"I was surprised with their response, I told them there is a compulsory 14-day quarantine period and I won't be left with much time. Bosses were unsure about when will flights resume and when I will be able to get back.
"Not paying heed to what is at stake, I decided to quit and move back in the hope of spending some months with my mother. I had no clue that she did not have any time left," he said.
Repatriation flights from the UAE to India started earlier this month.
Currently, more than 10 per cent of Indian expats in the UAE have registered to fly home during the coronavirus pandemic, India is set to add more flights during the third phase of repatriation which begins on Tuesday.