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Thousands of Pakistanis in UAE seek to return home amid Covid-19 outbreak

More than 20,000 Pakistani workers stuck in the(UAE) United Arab Emirates are seeking to return home, as the Gulf Arab state tightens restrictions due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The United Arab Emirates UAE, which has reported 1,799 coronavirus cases and 10 deaths, has gradually increased curbs, including imposing a nationwide curfew, suspending passenger flights and putting Dubai in a lockdown.

A densely populated Dubai neighbourhood where many South Asian blue-collar workers live has been sealed off since March 31, and there has been door-to-door Covid-19 testing in some parts of the emirate.

More than 20,000 Pakistanis had registered since April 3 with the consulate to go home, a consulate spokesman told Reuters on Monday.

Those who had registered included some whose visas had expired, who had lost their jobs or stopped being paid by their employer as well as. Those who entered the country on visitor visas, he said.

Over million Pakistanis live and work in the United Arab Emirates, according to Pakistani diplomats.

Pakistani authorities were in talks with their (UAE) United Arab Emirates counterparts to try to arrange flights so that the nationals could return home, the spokesman said.

Government media offices for the United Arab Emirates and Dubai did not immediately respond to emailed requests for comment.

The (UAE) United Arab Emirates suspended all passenger flights last month, though this week airlines Emirates and Etihad said they were resuming some outbound-only services to limited destinations for those wishing to leave the United Arab Emirates. Neither airline has announced flights to Pakistan.

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