Coronavirus: dozens of pregnant women flown home to India from Dubai

The flight is part of ongoing efforts to repatriate Indian nationals from the UAE

An Air India aircraft takes off as an IndiGo Airlines aircraft waits for clearance at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad, India, July 7, 2017. Picture taken July 7, 2017. To match Analysis AIR INDIA-PRIVATISATION/  REUTERS/Amit Dave - RC1DEE6C5CC0
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Dozens of pregnant women were repatriated safely home to India from Dubai on Saturday.

The flight to Kochi, in the southwest coastal state of Kerala, took off with 181 passengers on board.

The 75 mums-to-be on the flight were accompanied by medical staff who were on hand to offer assistance if required.

The three-and-a-half hour flight is part of continuing efforts to ensure any Indian in the UAE wanting to return home because of coronavirus can do so.

“Today’s flight IX434 to Kochi is very different as it carries many pregnant women, 35 medical cases, senior citizens and a few who lost near-ones back in India,” said a tweet posted by the Consulate General of India in Dubai on Saturday.

Job losses and pay cuts caused by the pandemic has resulted in many Indians working in the UAE deciding to return home.

When the Indian Embassy in the country first announced a repatriation scheme, more than 200,000 people registered.

To date, India has successfully repatriated more than 2,000 passengers from the Emirates on board 11 flights.

More are expected in the coming days, with the initiative scheduled to run until at least May 23, according to officials.

Out of the 2,079 passengers, 760 were workers, 438 were stranded tourists or students and 398 were classified as medical emergencies.

An additional 190 were pregnant and a further 126 were senior citizens.