Consul General Ahmed Amjad Ali (right) interacts with Pakistani passengers at Dubai Airport. File
Scores of Pakistani expatriates holding the UAE residence visa are desperately waiting for the resumption of flights as many face multiple problems if they do not reach the UAE soon.
The outbound flights from Pakistan to the UAE have been suspended since May 12 after the UAE announced suspension of entry for travellers from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka as part of the COVID-19 precautionary measures.
The announcement came on May 10 (just 3 days ahead of Eid Al Fitr).
Sources in the Pakistan Consulate in Dubai told Gulf Today that they are waiting for UAE authorities to announce the resumption of the flights.
The outbound flights from Pakistan to the UAE have been suspended since May 12.
“We are expecting the resumption of Pakistan-UAE flights in mid-June as many expatriates are stranded in Pakistan. We are receiving hundreds of requests through our social media pages or phones about the flight information,” sources said.
A number of community members shared their plight with Gulf Today and requested the UAE authorities to allow entry to at least the holders of residence visas.
Ismael, a resident of Dubai, travelled to Karachi in the first week of Ramadan with the aim of spending Eid Al Fitr with his parents and planned to return after the Eid holidays and fulfil his commitments. “The announcement of the flight suspension came on May 10 and gave us 2 days to decide but it was not easy,” he said.
Like Ismael, many residents in Pakistan celebrated Eid with their families and planned to return soon after the holidays.
“I travelled in the first week of May to sort out some family issues in Rawalpindi but now I’m stuck for one month and risking a job loss. Everyday I ask my travel agent about the resumption of flights but he has no answer. There are many people who are in Pakistan and desperate to return to their jobs or businesses but due to the flight suspension we are facing multiple issues from lacking money or facing a job loss as everyone depends on his job back in the UAE,” said Mubeen Ahmed, a resident of Sharjah.
Pakistan's COVID-19 positivity rate has remained below the 5 per cent mark for six straight days, as strict restrictive measures backed by vaccination enabled this declining trend, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) said
According to data released by the NCOC on Sunday, Pakistan conducted 55,965 tests on May 29, detecting 2,697 new coronavirus infections with a positivity rate of 4.82 per cent, reports Xinhua news agency.
Earlier in March and April, Pakistan saw a positivity ratio of over 11 per cent several times, leading to the government to impose strict measures, including the closure of educational institutions, markets, public parks, wedding halls, restaurants, public transport and all other venues of mass gatherings, especially during the Eid Al Fitr festival.
In May, the positivity rate dropped to over 9 per cent and went down further to below 5 per cent, the official data showed.
According to the NCOC, the total number of confirmed cases of COVID in Pakistan has risen to 918,936, with 839,322 recoveries, 58,878 active cases and 20,736 deaths.
Pakistan has so far administered 7,093,803 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said in a new travel advisory, that all inbound passengers aged six years and above will be required to submit a valid negative PCR test result conducted within 72 hours prior to commencement of travel to Pakistan.
It was not immediately clear which routes and air carriers would be affected. The NCOC added the decision would be reviewed on May 18. Inbound air traffic will operate at 20% of the total current quantum, while there is no change in the existing Category C list countries.
According to details shared by the CAA, Qatar Airways was previously allowed to operate 56 flights in a week, which is now minimised to 11, followed by eight flights allowed to Gulf Air as compared to 35 flights previously in a week.
Priority would be given to those who are registered in the Hajj electronic system and whose data have been previously updated.
"The FNC is confident that the UAE, under President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed, will see a new era of achievements and development. The country will continue to be the nation of giving, tolerance, safety and security," Ghobash said.
The move, which will bring total available funding for projects over the next 15 months to $30 billion, was unveiled hours before a major United Nations meeting on global food security.