The second wave of Covid-19 in India has forced many countries to impose travel restrictions on India. Here is a piece of happy news for those who have been waiting to fly to the UAE. Dr Ahmed Al Banna, the UAE Ambassador to India on May 26, expressed his hope that India-UAE travel restrictions would be lifted after June 14.
But the decision would be depending on the prevailing Covid-19 situation in India. Dr Al Banna has also pointed out that the bilateral ties with India have further strengthened amid the Covid pandemic. UAE had extended their supports to India in these challenging times sending loads of medical supplies, including liquid medical oxygen cylinders and ventilators.
“There was more coordination, exchange of experts, doctors and groups of medical teams… we have imported drugs in bulk from India that were needed for our frontline workers, who are tirelessly battling the pandemic,” said Dr Al Banna during an exclusive interview with Khaleej Times.
UAE, on April 24, suspended passenger entry from India amidst the surging second wave of the pandemic. Though a few sections were exempted from this, the majority of the ex-pats have been left stranded. Members of diplomatic missions, golden visa holders, UAE nationals, etc., include in this category given permission to enter UAE.
According to Al Banna, as many as 1,068 weekly flights were operational between India and the UAE. Along with this, over 50 per cent of Indians, who travel abroad, used the UAE airports in pre-Covid-19 pandemic times.
When the UAE restricted the entry of Indians temporarily, many who were separate to reach at Emirates had opted to find alternative routes. As part of these, many Indians flew from Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Later, on May 13, had banned non-resident flight passengers from Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It also mandated that anyone from the four countries intending to enter UAE must have been in any other country for a minimum of 14 days before the intended date of travel.
While many travel agencies have come up with special packages to fly to UAE. In such packages, they offer 14 days of quarantine outside India and on the 15th day, passengers would be flying to UAE. Paris Tours’ Takshkent package is one among them. Through this package, passengers would fly from Delhi to Tashkent. Then they would be under quarantine for 14 days in Tashkent. On the 15th day, they would be flying to Dubai in UAE.
However, some other agencies offer charted private jets for needy passengers.
Though the civil aviation operation had become standstill, the cargo movement continues unaffected. India and UAE have strong bonds, with India being UAE’s second-largest trading partner. The UAE is India’s third-largest trading partner.