The Indian Consulate in Dubai has urged the expatriate workers not to throng the mission premises here violating social distancing norms and instead apply online if they want flight tickets in the government-arranged repatriation flights, according to a media report on Friday.
Thousands of Indian workers, who are desperate to return home after the coronavirus outbreak, are gathering outside the consulate premises here for the past few days, Consul General of India in Dubai Vipul told the Gulf News.
"Around 1,500 to 2,000 people have been visiting the consulate (daily). The day after the Eid holidays, there were around 4,000 people," Vipul was quoted as saying by the report.
Vipul said gathering outside the consulate was against the current social-distancing norms and also the summer heat made it a dangerous situation.
Photographs of the serpentine queues of Indian workers have gone viral on social media.
However, the consul general reiterated that the Indian mission was not giving out flight tickets. "I see that a lot of people are still coming to the consulate in the hope that they will get a ticket from here. This is not true," Vipul said in a video message on Monday.
Vipul said the consulate was not even accepting repatriation forms. However, the mission is involving the community members to select distressed people who urgently need to return home.
“We understand the pain and anguish of everyone who is coming here, who is waiting for his or her turn to go back to India. But please have patience. More flights are coming and people would be able to return to India,” he assured.
Since May 7, around 14,000 Indians have been repatriated from Dubai, of whom about 40 per cent are workers in distress.
Under the Indian government''s 'Vande Bharat' evacuation mission, over 1.07 lakh stranded Indians have returned to the country.
Vipul said the passengers for repatriation are chosen from the online registered persons list.
“Priority is being given to workers as well as pregnant women, people with medical emergencies, stranded visitors, etc. More priority is being given to workers these days,” he told the newspaper.
Indian expatriates can try the toll free helpline 800 46342, 24x7 emergency numbers 0543090575, 0565463903, e-mail email@example.com, Twitter handle @cgidubai or Facebook page India in Dubai for assistance.
The coronavirus, which first emerged in China's Wuhan city, has claimed over 270 lives with over 37,000 confirmed infections in the UAE.
Dubai earlier in the week opened shopping malls with full capacity following weeks of restrictions.The decision is part of the gradual reopening of economic activities in the emirate and efforts to restore normalcy, while ensuring precautionary measures are strictly enforced.