Coronavirus: UAE launches initiative to bring 200,000 residents home

The National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority is stepping up efforts to bring back residents stuck overseas for months

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The UAE has launched a campaign to bring 200,000 residents stranded abroad for months back to the country.

UAE residents have been slowly returning to the Emirates since June 1 on a series of special flights as restrictions in place to stem the spread of Covid-19 continue to be eased.

The first phase of the mission, which aimed to fly home 31,000 people between March 25 and June 8, prioritised urgent humanitarian cases and those who were separated from relatives.

Now the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority said efforts are being stepped up to ensure all people with valid residency visas are able to come back to the country.

“50 percent of the focus in the current phase will be on reuniting families which confirms the humanitarian message of the UAE and its concern of families residing in the country, and will also facilitate the return of people working in vital professions to ensure the enhancement of the community’s quality of life,” said Khalid Belhoul, undersecretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation.

Major General Mansour Ahmed Al Dhaheri, director general of the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship said that in order to obtain an approval to return back to the UAE, residency holders who want to return to the country, must apply via the website

He said applicants can book their flight tickets after receiving approval from authorities.

The UAE imposed strict limits on air travel in March to help combat the spread of the pandemic.

It left huge numbers of residents who were on holiday, visiting families or conducting business trips unable to fly back to the UAE.

All travellers who land in the UAE will undergo Covid-19 tests and must quarantine for a period of 14 days.

Residents are required to pay for any costs involved in their quarantine and must also download an app approved by authorities to track their health status.

Coronavirus outbreak