A United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based Indian expat, Arun Singh, was reportedly stranded at the Dubai airport after he fell asleep while waiting for his flight back to India. According to media reports, the 37-year-old is originally from Pune and works at a bank in Dubai. He had passed immigration and security and was due to board the 4am Emirate flight to Ahmedabad.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the UAE has now suspended flights and has also refused entry to residency visa holders as a preventive against the spread of the deadly virus. Singh had missed the final boarding call by a few minutes and now because of the restrictions, he isn’t allowed to re-enter through arrivals to exit the airport. While speaking to the media outlet, Singh said that it was an ‘honest mistake’ as he just fell asleep.
Singh reportedly said that initially he was allowed back into the arrivals immigration hall but later the authorities told him that the entry was only for Gulf Cooperation Council (GCU) nationals. He further said that he even tried explaining them his situation and rung the Indian consulate as well but nothing was done about it. He said that currently, he can shower and buy food as things are available right now, but the authorities have told him that after March 25 everything will close in the airport and he has no clue of what is going to happen next.
Earlier this week, the Emirati authorities announced that they have decided to suspend all inbound and outbound passenger flights and transit of airline passengers for two weeks as a precautionary measure. UAE has also made an official announcement that all malls and markets across the region will remain closed for two weeks. The government, however, exempts pharmacies, supermarkets, co-ops and wholesale open markets, such as the fish and meat markets from mandatory lockdown.
UAE’s Ministry of Interior and the National Crisis and Disasters Management Authority urged people to stay indoors and allowed only the essential movements. It prohibited people from visiting hospitals, except when critical and in a state of emergency. It urged people to wear masks at all times when entering the hospital premises, as per state agency reports.