Sunday, May 24, 2020

Coronavirus: next wave of UAE repatriation flights to India to begin this week

A Central Industrial Security Force personnel wearing protective gear stands guard as he waits for Indian citizens flown home from Dubai by Air India flight to arrive at the Anna International Airport. AFP
Another wave of repatriation flights from the UAE to India is set to begin this week.

About 14,000 Indian citizens will board 81 special charters announced as part of the third phase of the massive operation.

The first flight will leave for New Delhi from Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

The majority of the flights, more than 50 in total, are to Kerala. But there are a range of other destinations on the itinerary, including Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.

There has been a huge demand for the repatriation service, with a reported 350,000 Indians applying to their embassy for help to return home, according to embassy officials.
That is more than 10 per cent of the 3.4 million-strong Indian community in the UAE, which is the largest outside the country anywhere in the world.

India has been under lockdown since March 24, when the government shut down international and domestic flights and train services between states.

The country recently extended restrictions until May 31.

Indians tell of grief and cling to hope as they board flights home

Dozens of pregnant women flown home to India from Dubai

Travellers who have been able to return on special repatriation flights have been placed in 14-day quarantines in hotels.

Roughly 6,000 Indians have so far left the UAE since the evacuation programme began on May 7.
24/05/20 Gillian Duncan/National
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