20,000 Pakistani Workers Seek to Leave UAE Amid COVID-19 Outbreak
As the United Arab Emirates ramps up measures against the spread of the new coronavirus, more than 20,000 workers are seeking to return to their home country of Pakistan. Some have lost their jobs in the wake of the pandemic, and some are in the country on visitor visas. More than a million Pakistanis live and work in the Emirates. The UAE reports 1,799 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection. Ten people have died from COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the virus, and 144 have recovered. The country has imposed a nationwide curfew, suspended passenger flights, and put its largest city, Dubai, in a lockdown. Some neighborhoods, including a densely populated one in Dubai where many Pakistani workers live, have been sealed off since March 31. Pakistani and Emirati authorities are in talks now trying to arrange the exit of Pakistanis who wish to return home. While all passenger flights were stopped last month, this week Emirates and Etihad airlines resumed some outbound-only flights for those wishing to leave, but Pakistan was not among the announced destinations.