Indefinite ban by UAE a big setback

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) decision to indefinitely extend its ban on the entry for travellers from India has come as a bolt from the blue for Non-Resident Indians (NRIs)working in the seven emirates.

The ban, in the wake of the surge in COVID-19 cases, is for passengers on all flights on national and foreign carriers, as well as for transit passengers coming from India. The decision came when the earlier ban was to end on May 14.

Only transit flights travelling to the UAE and bound for India had been allowed to land. Exemption has been given to cargo flight operations between two countries.

The UAE has extended the suspension of entry for travellers who were in India in the 14-day period prior to arrival in the UAE. Travellers coming from India through other countries had been asked to provide proof of a period of stay in those countries of no less than 14 days in order to be allowed to enter the UAE.

Foreign carriers operating to India have scaled down the inbound flights.

In addition to the seven emirates in UAE, airline sources said a ban for entry of Indians is in force in Oman, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. The only countries that allow Indians are Bahrain and Qatar.

The worst-hit by the decision are hundreds of Non-Resident Keralites (NoRKs) working in the seven emirates and various countries. The hopes of hundreds who have been waiting to join their families during the holy month of Ramzan and the summer months, which are vacation for educational institutions, have ended. Many NoRK families had shelved the plans to come home in view of the strict quarantine norms in Kerala to contain the pandemic.

Hundreds of NoRKs working in the U.S and U.K. and their families, students who had gone abroad for studies and others had been hit by the indefinite restrictions.

Foreign airline sources said they would be operating inbound flight as per the ‘Air Bubble’ pact for the time being, but outbound flights will not ferry passengers. Cargo will be lifted in these departure flights and 30 to 35 tonnes of cargo are being lifted in bigger aircraft.

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Printable version | Jun 15, 2021 10:24:01 PM |

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