Pakistanis in the United Arab Emirates said they had postponed plans to return home after the United Arab Emirates government called on residents to avoid unnecessary travel to contain the new coronavirus.
The United Arab Emirates’ Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) asked citizens and residents to avoid travel on Thursday and said anyone returning from abroad could undergo medical checks at the airport. and home quarantine until authorized.
For Hina Ahmed, a housewife in Dubai, safety comes first. “We are not even thinking of traveling [to Pakistan] because of the situation,” she said.
To date, six cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in Pakistan and although the country is not on the World Health Organization (WHO) list of high risk countries, the UAE warning concerns travel in general.
The UAE confirmed on Saturday 15 new cases of coronavirus, bringing to 45 the total number of people affected in the country, of which seven have recovered from the disease.
“Even if Pakistan is not a high risk country, we cannot be sure what will happen, so we have canceled our plans,” said Nazia Mir, a banker based in Dubai. “We planned to travel during the holidays during this break week,” she added.
Similarly, Ali Raza, a Dubai-based businessman, said it was too risky to travel.
“Almost everything has stopped and the health authorities are issuing regular warnings, so it must be something serious. We have postponed our plans to visit Lahore until the summer,” he said.
But at least one airline operating on routes between the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan knows that there has been only a negligible decline in passenger travel.
“We operate 46 flights from the United Arab Emirates to different cities in Pakistan every week and that has not changed,” Abbas Raza Dar, senior United Arab Emirates director for AirBlue, told Arab News. He admitted that there had been some decline in family travel.
Emirates Airlines declined to comment on the country-specific figures.
Sami Ullah, an undergraduate student from Pakistan at the American University of Sharjah said, “We have one month off and we will study from a distance. The UAE government has been very open about the situation and has asked everyone to avoid travel. I follow this advice. “