The travel ban on India from the side of New Zealand has been lifted. But those New Zealanders who are eligible in returning home are finding it impossible to get their flights.
Up to Sunday, 131 people – 106 of which are belonging to India have booked themselves into MIQ facilities from those countries which are deemed at very high risk.
However, as per the statement of the managed isolation and quarantine spokesperson said that not all of them would arrive here.
The spokesperson said that there are high chances that many of these returnees will not arrive in New Zealand. The reason is the widespread disruption of the flight schedules. It is especially from India to their destinations where most of the returnees from there presently transit en route to New Zealand.
Ninety-one of those 131 people are temporary visa-holders or permanent residents. It means unless they are having a partner, they are a parent of a dependent child or a dependent child who is a citizen of New Zealand. They will not be able to get entered into the country.
Citizens of New Zealand Uppkar Kashyap has traveled to India for the funeral of his father and for the support of his grandmother and mother. The ticket for his return on 30th April was booked on 24th April, but then the prohibition was
imposed on travel.
Uppkar said that I have booked my flight for 30th April but now Emirates, they have banned their flights and now they have imposed a prohibition on all the travelers that are coming in from India. They are not even facilitating us for doing the transit, so I am having a feeling like I am stuck here.
His two young daughters and wife are still there in New Zealand. And the maternity leave of his wife Teagan ends very soon. He had been staying regularly inside and getting Covid-19 tests in case he is having a chance of returning home.
He said that if the government or flights people say that we can make a flight for all of you guys for returning back to home, I can do anything whatever they desire.
If they are desired of getting me a Covid Test, I am doing it already. Everything we are eligible to do and we are still doing it, but still, we are desired to coming back home to our families.
Othe people have spoken to the RNZ due to the fear of repercussions on the agreement of anonymity.
One man who has gone over to look after his sick father had a wife, but her flight to get returned has got canceled.
In spite of being a travel agent, he was not at all capable of making a flight secure for her wife and he is not getting worried about how they will pay the bills because her holiday pay had got run out.
A pregnant lady who was a permanent resident of New Zealand said that her doctor told her that she should fly back to New Zealand for the sake of her own health and for the health of her unborn child.
All those who were interviewed said that they should understand the requirement of keeping the New Zealanders safe. But they were desired from the government for serving them with the flight options for getting home.
A long haul for getting back
Brent Thomas, Chief Operating Officer of House of Travel has given a statement that it is highly difficult to getting back from India. This condition is even for those who were eligible under the new criteria.
He said that certainly there are no direct flights and traditional routes through the places like Australia and are definitely no longer able to happen.
Basically one of the options for those people who are coming out of India will be in Qatar via Doha. However, there is a limited number of availability there and it is definitely a bit of a long haul for getting back to their own country New Zealand.
He said that Global travel rules were getting changed with just 24 hours of notice and over time, requirements through transit countries were completely going to become even more complexed.
As we go through this further down the track, are they going to have the requirement of getting vaccination proofed? Are they going to have the requirement of Saliva testing before their departure? All those kinds of things are going to come into play over the upcoming months and weeks.
With the deaths from Covid-19 are now surpassing 2,00,000 in India, the government of New Zealand has made the commitment to serve with the Red Cross $1 million for assisting with the crisis.
However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has said in their statement that they were not presently offering repatriation flights for those New Zealanders who are stuck here.
Instead of this, they have recommended New Zealander in India registering themselves for SafeTravel, so they had up-to-date information & advice.
Government Cannot Give The Guarantee of Return From India To New Zealanders – PM
Jacinda Ardern said that images that are coming out of India were genuinely devastating. She told to the Morning Report that there were no plans at this stage for repatriation flights.
Further, she told that early on in this pandemic we have made the arrangements for charger flights for getting as many permanent residents and citizens out of India in order of about 3,000.
However, commercial flights have begun operating thereafter. But the flights from India have got suspended now. She said that the government was waiting for seeing that if the commercial flights get resumed. Cabinet had not yet had a chance for discussing that.
We will be keeping a glance at what the situation is on the ground. What is happening with those commercial flights, but at this stage, we are not having plans to put in charter flights for bringing people out.
Ardern said that it was about assessing the risk and we have recommended those people who are desired of getting a return to look at the eligibility criteria and the vaccination.
We are not eligible in giving the guarantee always that we can bring people back.
We might not be able to go in and in doing the rescue of people. They are required to ensure that they are taking each and every precaution that they could and even at that time when they are traveling in desperate circumstances.
Recapitulating the words of PM, Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson has told that First Up was a very difficult condition for traveling from India.
We are fulfilling our responsibilities under the Bills of Rights for ensuring that the citizens and their families can get returned here but obviously it is an extremely challenging and difficult situation for those people who are not the citizens but they are desired of coming back here and we are just encouraging them for looking at their options and for finding a way through.
There are no plans in place for a repatriation flight at the moment. There are still commercial flights that are leaving from India.
Citizens can return directly, but visa holders or permanent resident must have spent at least their 14 days outside of very high-risk prone countries before getting a flight to New Zealand.
We have continued to have the humanitarian categories that people are eligible in applying to if there are extremely special reasons for them requiring to get back home.
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