Coronavirus: UAE has enabled repatriation of 22,900 foreign nationals with 127 trips

An Emirates Airline Airbus A380-800 plane takes off from Dubai International Airport in the United Arab Emirates. (Reuters)

Almost 23,000 foreign nationals have been repatriated from the UAE in 127 trips which were allowed to pass through temporarily closed UAE airports, according to Khalid Abdullah Belhoul, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, on Sunday.

The UAE has a population of nearly 10 million, of which non-citizens make up approximately 90 percent of the population. Experts have suggested the Gulf countries could experience an outflow of migrants during the coronavirus crisis, with people across the world returning to their home countries as international travel closes down amid national lockdowns.

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This latest announcement, carried by the UAE’s WAM state news agency, highlights the UAE’s role in facilitating the repatriation of foreign nationals.

According to Belhoul, 5,185 foreign nationals were repatriated on board UAE national carriers. The rest were presumably repatriated by their respective nations.

After suspending operations for nearly two weeks in late March to contain the spread of coronavirus, several airlines in the GCC region restarted some passenger flights to repatriate those abroad in early April.

The UAE repatriates more Emiratis

Belhoul also gave the latest tally of Emiratis who had been repatriated.

UAE air and land repatriations had brought home 2,286 Emirati citizens and would bring back a further 755 in 11 more trips, he said. The UAE had so far carried out 86 reparation trips from 43 countries.

The number is a significant increase on March 31, when the UAE announced it had brought home 1,743 citizens in 39 trips.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 14:07 - GMT 11:07
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