Stranded Pakistanis in UAE urged to undergo coronavirus tests before flying back home

By: News Desk      Published: 01:43 AM, 9 May, 2020
Stranded Pakistanis in UAE urged to undergo coronavirus tests before flying back home

Ambassador of Pakistan to the UAE Ghulam Dastgir has refuted media reports that a high number of passengers repatriated from the UAE to Pakistan had tested COVID-19 positive, Gulf News reported on Friday.

“These reports are exaggerated as very few passengers who flew from UAE to Pakistan on special flights, tested positive for coronavirus,” Dastgir told Gulf News while reacting to reports appearing in a section of the international media about coronavirus cases among people repatriated to Pakistan over the last two weeks.

“Yes, there were some passengers who tested positive for COVID-19 at the quarantine facilities in Pakistan, but the number is not alarming compared to the huge number—more than 6,000 – of people repatriated from the UAE so far,” he said.

Pakistan has raised concerns with the UAE that workers are returning home from the UAE with high rates of COVID-19, reported Reuters on Wednesday. Pakistani media also reported that more than 100 passengers repatriated from the UAE have tested positive for COVID-19.

The Pakistan ambassador noted: “These numbers of infected passengers are not high considering the fact that maximum number of stranded passengers were repatriated from the UAE, compared to any other country in the world.”

He added: “Despite all these circumstances, we are working very closely with the UAE government to resolve any issue.”

The ambassador further said that the UAE had already started free testing of Pakistanis in Abu Dhabi. “We have already started registering people who want to go for COVID-19 tests. More than 1,000 people have already registered while hundreds have [already] completed their tests,” he revealed.

He also advised stranded passengers to apply for COVID-19 tests before travelling to Pakistan.

More than 69,000 stranded Pakistanis have registered with the Pakistani diplomatic missions in UAE for repatriation. This included around 63,000 people who had registered with the Pakistan Consulate General in Dubai.