As India fights an immense surge of coronavirus cases with the second wave, hundreds and thousands of expatriates have been marooned, with several countries suspending travel to India.
The UAE and 13 other countries, including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Hong Kong, Thailand, the UK, News Zealand, the US, France, the Netherlands, and Canada, have announced an entry ban from India.
The National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) of UAE had clarified that the suspension of flights from India includes all national and overseas airlines, which came into effect from Saturday. The authority clarified that flights between the two countries would continue to operate, allowing the transportation of passengers from the UAE to India.
Upon entry into the UAE, Emirati citizens and diplomats must take a PCR test at the airport, and on the fourth and eighth day, NCEMA noted.
Expats were left in a dilemma as several flights, including Air India and Air India Express from the UAE to India, got cancelled, delayed or took off earlier than announced. Though airline companies informed passengers through a message about the change in flight schedules, many travellers ignorant about the change reached airports, local media reported. Airline offices advised passengers to verify the revised schedule before their travel.
As flights are expected to resume from May 5, air carriers started booking on the India-UAE sector. However, the steep hike in India-UAE airfares constitutes another setback to expatriates returning to the emirates.