A medical team departs on an aircraft from Kochi.
The first batch of 88 ICU nurses from India to support the UAE’s ongoing efforts to fight Covid-19, with support from the Indian Consulate and UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation landed at Dubai Airport at 8 pm.
The 88 member team are being pooled from Aster hospitals in Kerala, Kolhapur and Karnataka states in India .They will be joining UAE Government’s efforts to combat Covid-19 by adding capacity for intensive critical care and joining the field hospital in Dubai to help manage positive Covid-19 cases.
Pavan Kapoor, India’s Ambassador to UAE , Vipul, Consul General of India, Humaid Al Qutami, Director-General of the Dubai Health Authority and Dr Azad Moopen, Founder Chairman and Managing Director of Aster DM Healthcare were present at the airport.
Dubai-based Aster DM Healthcare, which runs close to a dozen hospitals in India as well, sent the team of doctors and nurses on a charter flight.
"The team from hospitals under Aster DM Healthcare included 19 professionals from the Aster Medcity in Kochi,” the group said in a statement here.
"They were flown in a special flight of the UAE government following Covid-19 protocols, including social distancing.”
The group said it had received a request from the Dubai Health Authority as support to New Delhi’s ‘Vande Bharat’ (hail India) evacuation mission for its stranded citizens.
India started repatriation of its stranded citizens from the Gulf countries on Thursday with two batches from Abu Dhabi and Dubai to Kerala’s Cochin and Calicut airports.
The evacuees included two people who tested positive for the dreaded virus after they landed in Kerala, one on each flight, and they are now getting treated at Covid-19 hospitals in the respective cities.
"The DHA had requested to send a medical team as they have been faced with a shortage of medical professionals in hospitals treating Covid-19 patients,” it said.
"The UAE Embassy in New Delhi, the Ministry of External Affairs and Indian Ambassador to the UAE were also involved in sending the medical team.”
According to Aster DM Healthcare authorities, the medical team will work under the DHA, which has also made arrangements for their food, accommodation and transport.
The team comprises medical professionals having experience in intensive care units and expertise to treat Covid-19 patients.
The team has all the necessary approvals from the foreign ministry, and they’ll stay in the UAE for a minimum of three months.
The team also has medical professionals from Aster MIMS Calicut, Aster MIMS Kottakkal, Aster MIMS Kannur and Aster CMI and Aster RV, Bengaluru.
Separately, the digital media cell of the Congress party launched a free online digital medical consulting service, E-Doctor’, for the expatriates.
The facility offered in association with #DoctorsforSocialJustice and Indian Medical Association (IMA) is available across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations.
Muneer Kumble, who’s available on 0551025611, is the programme’s coordinator in the UAE, the DMC convener Anil K Antony said.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Dr Shashi Tharoor said there would be a substantial increase in evacuation flights for stranded Indian expatriates next week.
He said he had received assurance from both India’s foreign minister S Jaishankar and aviation minister Hardeep S Puri to this effect.
He said both had assured him that the number of flights and passengers carried would be "dramatically increased” depending on the success of the initial flights.
He said the federal authorities would allot flights according to the receiving capacity of the states like Kerala, home to the highest number of expatriates.
Earlier, in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he had raised the demand citing the hardships the expatriates left jobless under the lockdown were going through.
He also demanded a relook into the prohibitively high airfares being charged by the national carrier, Air India, from the ports of departure in the Gulf.
"There is a strong case for the government to reconsider its position, especially for blue-collar workers,” he said.
"The government’s decision to charge them would cause a severe financial strain that many can ill afford to bear.”
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