Dubai residents count the cost of being stranded abroad due to travel restrictions

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Covid-19 restrictions have left some Dubai residents stranded outside the country after traveling abroad for Christmas and New Years.

Staying beyond the scheduled vacation period, sometimes not being able to leave, means the holiday season has ended in frustration for many.

The National spoke with residents wondering when they will be able to return to the United Arab Emirates after contracting the coronavirus while visiting family and loved ones abroad.

A resident, an Irish software developer, has been in isolation at a government facility in Poland since December 27, after testing positive at the airport during a layover on a connecting flight to Dubai.

I am locked up from the outside and I get three meals a day. I have a small TV with only one working channel, which is in Polish

Dean Kane, Dubai resident

“Christmas was great at home and it was nice to see the family. I did my PCR test on time and it came back negative. I even did a lateral flow test as I left the house, which was also negative, ”said Dean Kane, 30, of County Down.

“The first stop on my trip was from Belfast to London. I landed and went straight to an airport hotel and slept because there was a seven hour wait.

“The next morning there was a flight with a three hour stopover in Katowice, Poland. I was told that I needed another PCR test although I read online the only test for Dubai in Ireland would be sufficient.

When the test came back positive, Mr. Kane was taken in an ambulance to accommodation about a 30-minute drive from the airport.

“I am locked out and I get three meals a day. I have a small television with only one working channel, which is in Polish, and the staff do not speak English.

Mr Kane said he hoped he would not get a recurring positive test result so he could return to Dubai.

“I have to boil the tap water in the bathroom to drink the water,” Kane said.

“I had a few bottles but they’ve been out for a long time.

“As it is during the holidays, there was no staff to go to the supermarket.”

Mr Kane said he was unsure whether he should foot the bill for his stay in isolation, adding that the cost had not been mentioned to him.

Another Dubai resident was due to return from Ireland on December 28, but tested positive despite no symptoms.

“I’m worried about the impact this is going to have on my business,” said Catherine O’Farrell, who runs her own business that provides employment opportunities to people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“I can work remotely, but I also work closely with a lot of schools and although there is only a difference of four hours it makes a big difference as things get done very early in the day. with education.

“I have several projects which had to be put on hold until I could return to Dubai.”

A Dubai resident has spent several weeks outside the country after being in South Africa, visiting her family with her husband when the country was put on the UAE’s Red List.

“We were then told we had to spend 14 days outside South Africa because it was on the red list,” said Julie, from London, who asked that her last name not be used. .

“Then we went to Zanzibar and we were four days away from being able to return to the United Arab Emirates when they were also added to the red list.

“We have now been to Muscat while we wait for the 14 days outside a Red List country to pass, but we have spent an absolute fortune on hotel bills and other costs.”

Updated: January 5, 2022, 5:03 am

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