UAE has offered to fly stranded Indians: Ambassador

UAE has offered to fly stranded Indians Ambassador

ABU DHABI: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has offered to fly stranded Indians who wish to be repatriated if they test negative for COVID-19, the country’s Ambassador to India Ahmed Abdul Rahman Al Banna said.

Speaking to the Gulf News on Saturday, the envoy said the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC) had sent out a “note verbale” in this regard to the embassies of all the countries in the UAE during the past couple of weeks.

“We have sent the note verbale and all the embassies have been informed including the Indian embassy in the UAE and even the Ministry of External Affairs in India,” Al Banna said. According to him, the UAE has offered to test those who want to be evacuated.

The envoy told the Gulf News that those who test positive for COVID-19 will however, remain in the UAE. “They will be treated in our home facilities.”

Speaking on the same issue, Indian Ambassador to the UAE Pavan Kapoor also told the Gulf News on Saturday that India was trying to protect the health of its overseas citizens and their families by not evacuating them during the lockdown.

“At this stage, we feel that it is best for them (Indians wishing to return home) to stay where they are (since) there is a complete lockdown in India,” he told the newspaper in an exclusive interview over phone.

“It is totally wrong to say that we are abandoning our citizens. Once the lockdown in India is lifted, we will certainly help them get back to their home towns and their families,” he said. The envoy said the Indian missions in the UAE were awaiting instructions from their government on when the travel restrictions can be lifted.

“Once we open it (passenger flight service), it (repatriation) has to be done in a phased manner. At this stage we can’t even think of opening it,” he told Gulf News. Kapoor also confirmed that there has been not a single case of COVID-19 detected among Indian workers living in labour accommodation complexes so far. “We have checked in different camps and we have not been told of any case in labour camps so far,” he said.