Sharjah, March 18, 2020: An Indian man and his Ukrainian wife who is six-months pregnant are both stranded at Abu Dhabi Airport since early Tuesday morning due to travel restrictions imposed in wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Rana Mukherji, 41 and Tetyana Polunina, 34, were looking to leave the country as their UAE residence visas had expired.
Initially, the couple planned to travel to India for the delivery, but when Polunina’s OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India) application couldn’t be processed even after one month, they decided to fly to the US instead.
However, as luck would have it, the US immigration didn’t allow Polunina to board the plane because of her advanced pregnancy. Worse, Mukherjee said, the immigration authorities cancelled their visas for not disclosing the pregnancy.
“This has left us in quandary,” said Mukherji who had a flight to Chicago on Tuesday.
“I couldn’t travel to Ukraine because it had closed entry for foreign citizens to prevent the spread of coronavirus. And now my wife can’t travel there either as the country has imposed full restriction on air passenger traffic from March 17 until April 3. We can’t go to India, we can’t go to Ukraine, we can’t go to the US and now we can’t remain in the UAE as we don’t have valid visas for the country. I don’t know what to do,” he added.
“We have been sitting at the airport since morning trying to figure out which country we can go to but everything appears to be out of bounds because of flight restrictions due to coronavirus.” Mukheri told Gulf News over the phone.
Polunina who used to work as a sales director at a luxury hotel in Sharjah said they are desperate for help. “I request authorities to consider our case on humanitarian grounds and let us back in the country or allow us to fly out,” she said.