Travel ban hits NoRKs badly

UAE has become the latest to restrict travellers from India

Hundreds of Non-Resident Keralites (NoRKs) working in various countries have been badly hit by the travel ban imposed on Indian citizens in the wake of the second surge in COVID-19.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has become the latest to restrict travellers from India, after the U.S. advisory and U.K.’s ‘red list’. Curbs by Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Canada and France had also come as a setback.

The decision of the UAE to suspend travel of passengers from India for a period of 10 days from April 24 has a debilitating effect on the State in view of the large population of NoRKs in Gulf countries.

Hundreds have been waiting to join their families during the holy month of Ramzan and the summer months, which are vacation for educational institutions. Many NoRK families had shelved the plans to come home in view of the new quarantine norms and night curfew being introduced in Kerala to contain spread of pandemic.

People have been barred from booking flights from the UAE to Indian destinations after April 24 on the Emirates, Etihad, flydubai and Air Arabia websites. Arrival of passengers from India through another country is also not allowed into UAE unless travellers have stayed for 14 days in the transit country.

Foreign airline sources said they would be operating inbound flight from the UAE to destinations in India as per the ‘Air Bubble’ pact, but outbound flights will not ferry passengers from the country. Cargo will be lifted in these departure flights

Emirate’s flight on Saturday morning from Thiruvananthapuram international airport will be the last outbound flight from here to depart with flyers. Air India Express had also not cancelled any international flights.

U.K.’s ‘red list’ bans all travel from India and makes a 10-day hotel quarantine compulsory for U.K. residents returning home. The U.S. has advised its citizens to avoid travelling to India, even if they are fully vaccinated, as there is a "very high level" of COVID-19. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which has a four-level system for COVID-19, has placed India in "Level 4: very high level of COVID-19".

Hundreds of NoRKs working in the U.S and U.K. and their families will also be hit by the restrictions.

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