India begins evacuation of citizens stranded in UAE

Dubai, May 7 (efe-epa).- India began a repatriation operation to bring home hundreds of citizens stranded in the United Arab Emirates on Thursday because of restrictive measures brought on by the novel coronavirus.

Indian consul for the press in Dubai Neeraj Agrawal told Efe that the first two flights carrying 354 people would be reaching India later in the day.

“There are 11 flights scheduled from the UAE to India, which means more than 2,000 people will be brought back home this week,” he said.

The Indian embassy is giving priority to migrant workers who had lost their jobs, people with family and medical emergencies, those facing deportation, the elderly, and other vulnerable categories, according to Agrawal.

Agrawal explained that to date 225,000 people have registered to be repatriated from the Arab country, home to 3.4 million Indians, the vast majority of whom are employed in the construction and hospitality sectors.

Passengers flying from the UAE received a hygiene kit containing two face masks, two pairs of gloves and hand sanitizer. They also have to undergo medical check-ups at the airport, as well as rapid antibody tests.

Only those authorized by Emirati health authorities can travel.

In addition, they will be obliged to remain in quarantine for 14 days once they arrive in India and will have to pay for accommodation, according to the Indian embassy in the UAE.

This operation comes as part of an Indian massive evacuation operation to bring back nationals stuck in different parts of the world.

Indian authorities said that in the first week-long phase beginning Thursday, about 15,000 Indians are to be brought back from 12 countries in 64 special commercial flights.

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