NRIs stranded in India must wait for GCAA word to book UAE tickets

News Network
July 22, 2021

Newsroom, July 22: Thousands of Indians stranded in their home countries unable to return to their jobs in the United Arab Emirates due to covid restrictions and flight ban rushed to buy tickets at unprecedentedly higher rates whenever travel agencies opened booking, albeit briefly. Travellers many countries including India are not allowed to enter the UAE until they spend 14 days quarantining in a third nation.

The UAE introduced the travel restrictions earlier this year to control the spread of the newer variants of covid-19. Since then, the stranded expats have left no stone unturned in their attempts to return to the UAE. 

While some have returned on charter flights by spending a huge amount, some quarantined themselves for 15 days in places as far as Armenia, Uzbekistan, Serbia, Ethiopia and Qatar. Such quarantine packages cost an average of Dh9,000 per passenger. The rest live in an agonising limbo. 

Expats stuck in India were provided a faint glimmer of hope on June 19 when the Dubai Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management announced relaxations for fully-vaccinated passengers starting June 23. Major carriers have since been deferring final travel dates and extending inbound passenger suspensions on a routine basis. New dates signalling the end of travel suspensions are now announced by airlines more frequent than weekly, sending the stranded passengers on an emotional roller-coaster.

However, the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has firmly maintained that the inbound travel suspension will remain in place until further notice. “The UAE government is closely monitoring the situation and will provide further updates and instructions as necessary,” said the GCAA recently. 

While a lack of clarity on when the suspension will end leaves the stranded residents frustrated, we should not forget that the world is navigating unprecedented times. While aggressive vaccine campaigns and Covid protocols bring about a lull in infections in some parts of the world, deadlier and more contagious variants of the pathogen rear their ugly heads in other countries. The pandemic has turned into a never-ending Whac-A-Mole game. 

Thousands of passengers are still glued to updates shared by airlines on social media, booking and re-booking flight tickets every time a new travel date is announced. Travel agents have highly recommended those wishing to travel must await a formal announcement from either the GCAA or the National Crisis and Emergency Management Authority on the end date before booking their tickets, instead of wasting precious time and money and losing peace of mind.

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News Network
September 12,2021

Kabul, Sept 12: The higher education minister in the new Taliban government says women will study in universities, including at post-graduate levels, but that classrooms will be gender-segregated and that Islamic dress is compulsory.

The minister, Abdul Baqi Haqqani, laid out the new policies at a news conference Sunday, several days after Afghanistan's new rulers formed a Taliban government.

Haqqani said female university students would be required to wear a hijab but did not elaborate on whether this only meant a compulsory headscarf or also mandatory face coverings. 

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News Network
September 3,2021

Bengaluru, Sept 3: The government of Karnataka has decided to hold a low-key Mysuru Dasara celebrations with a ban on street celebrations in view of Covid situation.

"How the Mysuru Dasara celebrations were held last year, this year too, it should be celebrated as such. This has been announced by the chief minister in the meeting," Mysuru district-incharge minister ST Somashekhar told reporters here on Friday.

On October 7, Dasara celebrations will be inaugurated at Chamundi Hills and chief minister Basavaraj Bommai has been given the power to decide on who should inaugurate the event, he said.

"At an appropriate time, the chief minister announced the guest who would inaugurate the celebration at Chamundi Hills. The inauguration event will be conducted between 8.15 am to 8.45 am," Somashekhar said.

Public entry has been banned, he said. Every year, Dasara attracts a huge number of tourists from all over the world to the heritage city.

He said the jumbo ride will be conducted on Mysuru Palace premises, between 2.45 pm to 3.15 pm, he said.

Somashekhar said the state government has paid the 2019 Dasara festival's Rs 8.09-crore arrears.

For this year's Dasara to be held in Mysuru, Srirangapatna and Chamrajnagar, the government has sanctioned Rs 6 crore, he said.

Mysuru Dasara is a grand 10-day spectacle that culminates on the day of Vijayadashami.

Scientists and other experts have predicted a possibility of a third wave hitting Karnataka in the last week of September or October and as such they are against mass gatherings that have potential to be super-spreaders.

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News Network
September 5,2021

Bengaluru, Sept 5: In a high-level meeting with the technical experts, the state government Sunday decided to relax the prevailing guidelines to allow partial Ganeshotsav celebrations and setting up of pandals.

The decision to approve partial celebrations comes in the wake of fears looming over the possible third wave of Covid hitting the state.

Permission to erect pandals has come as a major relief to idol-makers, who had gone bankrupt last year due to the ban on Ganeshotsav during Covid lockdown in the country.

Pandals install big Ganesha idols which brings good income for them.

According to the guidelines, not more than one Ganesha pandal can be set up in each ward. They also disallow immersion of the idols post 9 pm.

Ganeshotsav festivities have been permitted for a maximum of five days, and cultural programmes have been completely banned.

Ganeshotsav celebrations are banned in border taluks where positivity rate is found over two per cent

Apartment associations have been permitted to celebrate on their premises, but a maximum of 20 people present at a time.

Karnataka Saturday had reported 983 new infections and recorded 21 deaths, taking the total caseload to 29,54,047 and the toll to 37,401.

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