19 Indians stranded at DXB; passport renewals…

By Eudore R. Chand

DUBAI 21 April 2020: The Consulate General of India in Dubai yesterday stated that 19 Indians are stranded at Dubai airport. Emirates airline is looking after them.

It also said, Indian passport renewals have restarted, although on a limited basis due to social distancing norms.

Nineteen Indians continue to be in Dubai airport as they could not travel to India due to flight restrictions. We thank Emirates airline for continuing to look after them. We remain in touch with them and have also given some financial help to them. We hope that they and other people who want to go back to India will be able to travel soon, said the statement.

Some services like passport and attestation are being given only on an emergency basis, while some like visa and OCI remain suspended, due to the social distancing norms, Stay Home initiative of Dubai and sterilization activities as well as the lockdown and other restrictions in India.

“However, since last week we have gradually started to take applications for renewal of passports which are expired or will expire by April 30 at the BLS outsourcing center in Sharjah. We hope to be able to process about 100 passports everyday for the next few days. We have also been rendering emergency attestation services,” the consulate said.

80 Indians died in past 4 weeks

During the past four weeks we have registered 80 deaths of Indian nationals and also coordinated repatriation of 17 mortal remains through the few cargo services available between India and UAE, it added.

“We received some requests for medicines from Indians who are stuck due to the Covid-19 restrictions and have helped at least 35 patients get medicines which were locally available, despite several challenges. This facility is being provided on a means tested basis (for the most needy people who cannot afford to buy their medicines). Such persons can make a request on com.dubai@mea.gov.in with detailed justification of their request,” the consulate said.

Flights to India

In the consulate, two 24×7 helplines (+971-56 5463 903/ 54 3090 575) and the email (cons1.dubai@mea.gov.in) are currently answering calls related to Covid-19. Most of the queries have been about flights for going back to India, seeking medical help in Dubai and Northern Emirates, extension of visas in UAE and food and medicine requirements. In the past four weeks almost 3,500 calls and 3,000 emails have been answered. The consulate said it has also been striving to swiftly answer all queries on our social media accounts (Twitter: @cgidubai, Facebook: @IndianConsulate.Dubai).

We once again assure all members of the Indian community that we will continue to render all assistance to them in this difficult situation. We continue to receive several calls everyday from people wishing to go back to India. We hope that the situation will soon become conducive for passenger flights to India to operate.

India supplies hydroxychloroquine tablets to UAE

“We all have to fight this pandemic together and strengthen the hands of both Government of India and UAE in arriving at solutions which are beneficial for everyone. India’s provision of hydroxychloroquine tablets for UAE is one such step of cooperation and collaboration,” it added.

Our tele-medicine and tele-psychological counselling numbers (054 3090 571/054 3090 572) which have been working for a week now have answered 500 calls in various languages. We thank all the doctors and counsellors who gave their consent to help the community, it said.

Many who want to help have been approaching the consulate. “We have therefore assigned one dedicated email labour.dubai@mea.gov.in to coordinate these efforts. In the last four weeks we have helped more than 4,000 people with food packets or rations both through our Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) and through the community organizations and Indian associations. The assistance provided includes three labour camps with 150, 190 and 90 people. We have also arranged accommodation for at least 60 people from ICWF.

Covid-19 isolation facility

The consulate has been coordinating various efforts and activities to support the Indian community in Dubai and Northern Emirates in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Since Sunday, the consulate has been able to mobilise a team of doctors and paramedics volunteers for a Covid-19 isolation facility in Dubai. This is a modest contribution to supplement the massive effort of DHA and in the spirit of the historic friendly relations between India and UAE.

We thank Indian Business and Professional Council (IBPC), the wider Indian community and Dr. Azad Moopen, Chairman of Aster Group, with whose efforts this could be achieved. We also thank all doctors and paramedics who have volunteered for this initiative as also community volunteers in particular from KMCC involved with the facility, the consulate said.

We also highly appreciate the response received from Dubai Health Authority (DHA) and other agencies who have been working tirelessly to look after the Covid-19 patients, including Indians. Over the past few weeks, we have forwarded requests from several hundred Indians for medical help related to Covid-19 to the relevant authorities. We have received excellent response given the scale and complexity of this unprecedented problem, the consulate added.

It said a lot of community organizations including Dubai Gurudwara, BAPS Hindu Temple, Rajasthan Business and Professional Group (RBPG), KMCC, ICAI Dubai Chapter, FOI Events, IPF and several others have been helping people in need of food or rations.

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Dubai Gazette