Coronavirus: 320,000 people return home on repatriation flights from UAE

Officials confirmed more than 40,000 UAE residents stuck abroad have been granted approval to return

More than 320,000 people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic have returned to their home countries on repatriation flights launched from the UAE, authorities said on Saturday.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation (MoFAIC) said it had worked closely with foreign ambassadors and consulates to co-ordinate more than 1,300 special flights since the outbreak began.

The missions helped thousands of tourists and visitors stuck in the Emirates when strict restrictions were placed on air travel in March to combat the spread of coronavirus.

Many UAE residents who were financially impacted by the public health crisis - suffering job losses and pay cuts - have also been able to secure flights to their home countries as part of a wide-ranging strategy.

More than a quarter of those who have returned home hail from India, which makes up the biggest expatriate population in the Emirates.

More than 450,000 Indians have registered with consulates in Dubai and embassy in Abu Dhabi and about 90,000 had returned home as of last month.

Officials confirmed more than 40,000 UAE residents stranded abroad due to the suspension of air travel have been granted permission to return to the Emirates so far.

In June, UAE officials stepped up efforts to bring back 200,000 residents stuck overseas due to the pandemic.

All returning residents, except those from Dubai, have to be tested in the country they were in, before boarding a flight to the UAE.

On returning to the UAE, travellers must take another coronavirus test and isolate themselves for two weeks.

If you hold a Dubai residence visa and you are flying back to Dubai, you must have return approval from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs.

Anyone who does not adhere to the quarantine will face legal action.

Khaled Abdullah Belhoul, undersecretary of MoFAIC, revealed 4,043 Emiratis and their companions had been brought back to the Emirates on 166 air and ground repatriations from 61 countries.

He highlighted the importance of the partnership between ministry officials and The National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority in ensuring the safe return of Emiratis during the global health crisis.

The UAE has taken on a leading role in the global fight to contain the virus and has provided essential medical aid to dozens of countries in recent months.

The country has delivered more than 1,000 tonnes of medical supplies to more than 70 countries.

The significant support has ensured more than one million medical workers across the world have been equipped with much-needed supplies.

Updated: July 11, 2020 02:44 PM


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