HYDERABAD: The Maldives has become a top quarantine ‘country of transit’ for Indian expats, especially those who failed to get two doses of the vaccine, now that the island nation has eased its restrictions for travellers from India. Many of them are rushing back to Gulf countries, particularly Saudi Arabia and UAE, to get their visas renewed and safeguard their jobs. Both white-collar and blue-collar workers, who have waited for far too long in Hyderabad, are now trying to leave for Gulf countries either by hook or crook.
“My brother, a software engineer in Dubai had to leave with his family via Kochi Airport after days of anxiety. After encountering several ordeals at different points in their journey, they are now quarantining at a remote island in the Maldives,” said Advocate Ishaq Azhar, a resident of Upparpally in Rajendranagar. Many of those who are returning to the Gulf are leaving their families behind, owing to the huge expenditure involved, as each individual would have to spend between Rs 2 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh for the journey.
Under normal circumstances, the travel cost is about Rs 25,000. With Qatar also easing restrictions for Indians, some travellers are choosing it for quarantine. But due to technical issues pertaining to visa and immigration rules, travel is learnt to be tricky and risky. Another quarantine destination is Armenia, which is now in conflict with Azerbaijan and has no restrictions for travellers from India. But given the changing scenario, it may be listed as unsafe anytime by Saudi Arabia.