Hundreds of Indians stranded in Dubai after Saudi ban on entry from 20 countries

Express News Service
MANGALURU: Hundreds of Indians are stranded in Dubai following Saudi Arabia’s temporary ban on the entry of people from 20 foreign countries including India in order to contain the surge in Covid-19 cases. Saudi-bound Indians who were eager to finish their 14-day quarantine in Dubai in order to enter the country are now hit by uncertainty due to the sudden ban.

They had reached Dubai as foreigners bound for Saudi Arabia can’t enter until they undergo a 14-day quarantine in any of the neighbouring countries like UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait etc. Most opted for Dubai because it’s very close to Saudi Arabia.

PA Hameed, an advocate and social worker in Riyadh, said many who completed the 14-day quarantine period in Dubai are not able to continue their journey to Saudi Arabia due to the ban. He said a majority of Indians who are stranded are blue collar employees who can’t afford an extended stay in Dubai.

“Already they have spent a lot of money for 14 days of quarantine. Many had flown from India to Dubai with just the money required for the quarantine. Now, they are in deep trouble as they have to shell out a huge amount for hotel stay. Dubai is very expensive and most of them just cannot bear the unnecessary burden,” said Hameed.

He has also written a letter to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar seeking his intervention in order to bail out the Indians from the crisis. The letter says those stranded include families, children and pregnant women. “Some Indian residents in Saudi Arabia who traveled to Dubai a couple of days back to fetch their families and relatives are also stranded due to the sudden development. All of them are in a hapless situation and are pleading for immediate help from the Indian government,” it said.

The Indian government has been urged to immediately take appropriate steps to secure the entry of stranded Indians into Saudi Arabia on humanitarian grounds by effecting diplomatic discussions with the Saudi government.

Sufiyan, who hails from Mangaluru and works as a labourer in Saudi Arabia, said he had traveled to Dubai by taking a loan from relatives. “Now, I am stuck in Dubai and don’t have enough money for an extended stay. There is no guarantee when Saudi Arabia will lift the temporary ban. We can only hope that the Indian government bails us out from the crisis,” he said.