Coronavirus: UAE arranges repatriation flight for stranded Brazilians

The Emirates flight is set to depart on Sunday

Brazilian tourists left stranded in the UAE after restrictions on global air travel were imposed to stem the spread of Covid-19 are set to return home next week.

A repatriation flight for citizens of the South American country will leave from Dubai International Airport on Sunday.

It is the second such flight arranged by UAE authorities in tandem with Emirates Airline and the Brazilian embassy in Abu Dhabi after 125 people were flown home on April 21.

Those wishing to board are required to purchase tickets for what remains a commercial flight.

"There is a commercial flight on May 3 and those who interested to return can book their flights," Fernando Luis Lemos Igreja, Brazil's Ambassador to the UAE, told The National.

“We have been working with the UAE authorities to make these flights possible and to help our citizens who wish to return home.”

There are currently 200 Brazilians stuck in the Emirates due to the grounding of flights last month.

The envoy said the embassy is also assisting Brazilians who require financial or relief aid.

For the previous flight, Mr Igreja said that the embassy sponsored tickets for 50 out of the 125 passengers as they could not afford to pay.

The majority of citizens who have gone back or are requesting for special flights were tourists to the UAE.

A list with the names of 24 Brazilian expats and tourists stranded in the UAE was circulating on messenger apps and social media last week.

Among the list was Renata Cristine da Silveira Santiago, a 32-year-old who arrived in Dubai on March 15 as a tourist and was meant to return 10 days later.

She said she does not have the means to continue living in Dubai as she has spent majority of her funds on hotel payments.

“I am with a Brazilian friend, who is in the same condition as me,” she said.

“Financial conditions are increasingly scarce and we are living one day at a time.  We need to go back to our country.  Our family members are very apprehensive and anxious for our return to Brazil.”

Lea Silvia, 42, has been trying to get her 75-year-old mother, Meidi Horii, on a flight back to Brazil.

Ms Horri arrived to Dubai on February 16 for a visit and was supposed to return on March 31.

“We paid Dh5,400 for her round trip ticket and we’ve been asked to pay Dh3,300 in difference to get her on the special flight that has been arranged by the embassy,” said Ms Silvia.

“My job is currently on the line and I’m not sure if I’ll still be employed. I can’t afford to pay that, but at the same time, my mum has to go back. My father is in Brazil and the rest of our family.”

Ms Silvia said she is hoping the embassy can sponsor the extra amount so her mother can return home.

Those who wish to get a seat on the repatriation flight are being encouraged to email the embassy at consular.abudhabi@itamaraty.gov.br and contact Emirates.

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