Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 9 August 2020

CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus: 16,000 Indians flown home from UAE since outbreak

Indian citizens repatriated from the UAE after applying to return home amid the coronavirus outbreak

Indian citizens wait to be repatriated in Dubai airport. Courtesy: Dubai Consulate General
Indian citizens wait to be repatriated in Dubai airport. Courtesy: Dubai Consulate General

Almost 16,000 Indians have been repatriated from the UAE since the Covid-19 outbreak.

On Monday, officials said 10,271 Indians had been flown home from Dubai while 5,642 were repatriated from Abu Dhabi. The repatriation operations are being carried out under the Vande Bharat or Salute India mission to return citizens to the South Asian country.

The Consulate General in Dubai said 57 flights had been organised to various cities across India along with the bodies of 42 people, since the start of the mission.

"[We are] doing our best to serve the community, labourers and distressed people," the consulate said on Twitter.

An Air India flight carrying low-income workers left for the state of Bihar, bordering Nepal, on Monday. The national carrier is operating special ferry flights for passengers repatriated under the mission from hub airports to their home states.

The Indian embassy in Abu Dhabi said more than 5,600 passengers had been flown from the UAE capital to destinations across India since the repatriation mission began.

Of these travellers, 4,074 were taken home on board 23 special repatriation flights while private companies had chartered nine flights that carried 1,568 passengers to India.

More flights are expected to be scheduled to repatriate those who wish to return to their home country.

In a video message shared on Twitter, Vipul, the Consul General in Dubai, reassured Indian citizens that they would be repatriated in time.

"Please have patience, more flights are coming and people will be able to return to India. We have to act together and we have to act with patience and we should not congregate at the consulate in the hope of getting a ticket," he said.

He said crowding outside the building was illegal and put people's lives at risk of being infected by coronavirus.

"We are trying to do our best to send needy people back to everyone and everyone's turn will come," Vipul said.

About 350,000 Indians applied to the embassy and consulate for help to return home, according to embassy officials.

Updated: June 1, 2020 08:37 PM

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