India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh flights pushed back to July 25

Emirates airline says authorities have extended the July 21 date

An Emirates Airlines Boing 777 plane unload a coronavirus vaccine shipment at Dubai International Airport on February 1, 2021 as key transport hub Dubai announced an initiative to accelerate the delivery of coronavirus vaccines, particularly to developing nations. The Vaccine Logistics Alliance, which includes Dubai-based Emirates airline and global logistics giant DP World, is designed to "speed up distribution of Covid-19 vaccines around the world through the emirate". The alliance will "support" the World Health Organization's Covax initiative to distribute two billion vaccine doses, the Dubai Media Office said in a statement, without specifying how many doses it would deliver.
 / AFP / Karim SAHIB

The UAE has extended a flight ban on passengers from four major south Asian nations, Emirates airline said on Sunday.

Restrictions on travellers from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh were extended from July 21 to July 25 because of the Covid-19 situation.

"In line with UAE government directives, Emirates will be suspending the carriage of passengers from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka to Dubai until 25 July 2021," the airline's website said.

"Furthermore, passengers who have connected through India, Pakistan, Bangladesh or Sri Lanka in the last 14 days will not be accepted to travel from any other point to the UAE."

Emiratis, holders of UAE golden visas and members of diplomatic missions may be accepted for travel.

People in this category must quarantine for 10 days on arrival, officials said previously.

Restrictions were first imposed on India flights in late April and on flights from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal on May 12, as what is now known as the Delta variant spread.

There was no immediate update about the flight situation from Nepal.

Long journey home from Delta-hit India

On Sunday, Indian expats who were abroad when the UAE halted flights told of how they had flown as far as Serbia, Ethiopia and the Maldives to quarantine for 14 days before flying back to Dubai.

Many have found themselves dodging rapidly moving travel bans, and ask for help from fellow travellers and travel agents on WhatsApp and Facebook to locate cities open for travel.

“Countries are opening slowly but these bans will continue until countries co-ordinate and have unilateral policies to open borders,” said Jyoti Malal, president of the Travel Agents Association of India. She receives calls on a daily basis, not only from UAE residents but also from Indians who wish to travel to Canada and Australia, where similar restrictions exist.

“Otherwise people will keep looking for avenues and try different permutations to reach their destination, because they are worried about jobs,” she said.

Updated: July 18th 2021, 3:40 PM