Kerala High Court on Saturday sought the response of the Central government on a plea seeking directions for the evacuation of Indian citizens stranded in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) amid coronavirus lockdown. A division bench of Justices AK Jayasankaran Nambiar and Shaji P Chaly asked the Centre to inform it about any policy decision taken with respect to allowing the return of Indians from abroad in the light of the pandemic and slated the matter for further hearing on April 17.
The court was referring to an advisory by the Government of India which mentioned that it is advisable for Indians in foreign countries to stay there at the moment, and wait for better times to return and said that "the state needs to be on guard, and be cautious about letting persons from abroad coming at this juncture."
The bench then asked the Central Government to apprise it about the welfare measures taken by the Indian Embassy at UAE for the well-being of citizens there. "Let's not question the wisdom of the Centre at this stage. We will seek a status report from them," it observed.
The petition, filed by Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre in Dubai and a UAE based travel service provider, sought directions to the Union Ministry of External Affairs and Civil Aviation for permission to evacuate Indian citizens stranded in UAE.
The plea said that the plea is of utmost urgency as many citizens stranded in UAE are on tourist visas or on transit visas and have already gone beyond their permitted period of stay. It added that it is averred that there are other categories of citizens who because of their entitlement of leave from work, as also certain other categories require immediate medical attention and are also stranded in UAE.
Meanwhile, as per health ministry, India has conducted 1,44,910 tests on 130,792 suspected COVID-19 patients in 146 government and 67 private laboratories. The country till Saturday reported 1035 new cases in the last 24 hours, the sharpest ever increase in cases and 40 deaths, bringing the number of confirmed cases to 7,447. Over 642 patients have recovered and been discharged.
(Picture credit: ANI)