DUBAI: Nineteen Indians have been stuck in Dubai airport for three weeks, as most of them were in transit when India stopped inbound flights due to the coronavirus pandemic, the media reported.
The men roughed it out on airport benches for the first few days. On March 21 they were tested for COVID-19 and were found negative after which they were shifted to Dubai International Airport Hotel on March 25 and have been there since, said the Gulf News in a report on Sunday.
Among the passengers is Arun Singh, 37, who was due to board an Emirates flight to Ahmedabad on March 22 when he fell asleep in the waiting area and missed the final call by a few minutes.
"I have been eating and sleeping and eating and sleeping ever since they put us here. I am comfortable but desperate to go home," Singh, an IT professional at a bank in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), said.
Unlike other stranded passengers, Singh has a UAE residency visa holder but he can't exit the airport through arrivals because of the suspension of visas.
Another passenger Deepak Gupta, who's stranded since March 18, said he was worried about his pregnant wife in New Delhi.
"She needs me by her side. Soon I will complete one month at the airport, I am beginning to lose hope," Gulf News quoted Gupta as saying.
Like several of his fellow countrymen Gupta flew into Dubai from Europe and had a connecting flight to New Delhi later that evening.
However, he wasn't allowed to board the plane as India had imposed a ban on all incoming passengers from Europe.
Meanwhile, Indian Ambassador to the UAE Pavan Kapoor told the Gulf News on Saturday that the Indian missions in the UAE were awaiting instructions from their government on when the travel restrictions can be lifted.