India clears travel of 88 healthcare professionals to UAE, emirates send 7 tonnes of medical supplies
The Indian government on Saturday permitted 88 doctors and healthcare professionals to travel to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to support efforts to fight the Covid-19 pandemic even as the West Asian state sent a plane with seven tonnes of medical supplies to New Delhi.
The foreign ministers of several West Asian countries had raised the issue of return of Indian doctors employed in their healthcare facilities during recent telephone conversations with external affairs minister S Jaishankar. They had also sought medicines such as hydroxychloroquine from India.
A statement from the UAE embassy said Indian authorities had allowed the first batch of 88 specialists, doctors and nurses to travel to the UAE within a short period to support efforts to fight Covid-19. It did not say when the batch would leave for the UAE.
People familiar with developments said on condition of anonymity that the batch included healthcare professionals employed in the UAE who were at home on leave when Covid-19-related travel restrictions were put in place, and those were recently recruited by the emirates to bolster efforts to counter the pandemic.
The batch is expected to fly out of India after the completion of certain formalities as the matter had been cleared by the external affairs ministry, the people said.
In a separate development, the UAE sent a special flight carrying seven tonnes of medical supplies to India to bolster efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19. “The aid will assist approximately 7,000 medical professionals as they work to combat the virus,” said a statement from the UAE embassy.
UAE ambassador Ahmed Al Banna said: “The UAE is committed to extending critical support to nations seeking to bolster their fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. The UAE assistance to India comes in recognition of the profound and brotherly ties our two countries have shared throughout the years.
The UAE has provided more than 348 tonnes of aid to nearly 35 countries, supporting nearly 348,000 professionals.
The Indian consulate in Dubai thanked the UAE for the aid in a tweet and said: “We are also happy that we have been able to send medicines to UAE to fight Covid-19 and more medical personnel should come to UAE soon.”
India has earlier deployed a medical rapid response team to Kuwait for two weeks to provide technical expertise and train that country’s medical personnel.
The UAE is home to more than 3 million Indian expatriates, and tens of thousands of them work in the healthcare sector. The people cited above said nearly 30,000 Indians had so far registered with the missions in the UAE to return home once travel restrictions are eased.