Residents and visa holders from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are caught in a hapless situation in their home countries as continuous rise in the COVID-19 cases making their re-entry to Oman uncertain.
The sultanate has banned entry from these three countries from Saturday, as part of measures to contain the pandemic in the country.
“Many of my near and dear ones are now stuck in Bangladesh,” Mamum Rashid Rumee, a Bangladeshi expatriate businessman in Ma’abela said.
“They had gone there to meet their families, but the rising COVID-19 cases forced them to cancel their return flights following the latest developments,” Rumee said, adding that “the irony is that until a few weeks back all flights from Bangladesh to Oman were not operational; they had opened it only for a short period and then this news now broke that Oman has cancelled all fights.”
Many of these people have families in Oman and the separation is an added burden, he added.
Filmmaker Sami Sarang, who is in Pakistan said, “I left Oman just a few days before the lockdown. I was expecting this ban on the flights from Pakistan but was not expecting it to come that fast. I need to come back soon after the Eid as I do have business appointments and meetings but right now I am stuck here.”
“This will indeed result in losses to my business. Like me, there are many people who have gone to their respective countries and are now stuck,” Sarang added.
Sayed Kasim Ali, a young cook from Mumbai, was all set to come to Oman on a visit visa. Unfortunately due to lockdown his plans have been shattered.
His father Nawab Ali is a tailor in Ruwi and wanted his son to visit Oman as Mumbai has been badly affected due to the pandemic. “Our dreams are on hold now but my son is more important to me than work opportunities,” the helpless father said.
Faiyaz Khan, general manager of Travel Point, said that the sudden decision to cancel flights connecting the three countries from which maximum expatriate workers come resulted in chaos.
“The sudden announcement from Supreme Committee to bar all passengers coming from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh from April 24 rattled those passengers who were desperate to return to Oman before the deadline,” Khan said.
“During this difficult time, we at Travel Point are standing strong with our clients by giving them timely updates and making sure our services are extended to them 24/7.”
He added, “Many passengers thank us for our service helping them, working day and night to bring them back in alternative flights. Some of our passengers arrived in Oman happily without much hassle.”