Dubai: The UAE will receive three more batches of medics from India to further strengthen its battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, a top diplomat said after a third group of 172 medics were flown in on an Emirates flight on Tuesday.
The arrival of the third batch of COVID-19 warriors from India was announced by the UAE Embassy in New Delhi on Twitter.
The Embassy said it continues efforts to coordinate with Indian authorities and obtain necessary approvals to send the 172 doctors and nurses from India to the UAE, to strengthen efforts of the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) to fight coronavirus.
Speaking to Gulf News later, the UAE Ambassador to India Dr. Ahmad Abdul Rahman Al Banna revealed that there will be three more batches of Indian medics coming over for the coronavirus mission.
The envoy said further details of the future batches of Indian COVID warriors would be announced later.
He also revealed that the UAE is expected to procure more medicines and medical equipment also from India.
“We have procured the second batch of seven million pills of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) from India,” he confirmed.
The first batch of 5.5million pills of HCQ had been approved for export to the UAE on April 18.
The UAE’s total requisition is 30 million pills, Al Banna said.
“Although there is a lot of talk about the effectiveness of this pill, we are using them,” he clarified.
“Many countries like India, the UAE, France, Morocco and Algeria, have used this for doctors and nurses on frontline fight against the coronavirus. It has been proved that this somehow gives some protection and it also aids the treatment of the COVID-19 patients.”
The ambassador added that both the countries are in the process of further cooperating in the field of healthcare.
Project Kavach (Shield) by Apollo
Al Banna said the arrival of the medics from the Apollo Hospitals Group follows that of 88 medics with the Aster DM Healthcare and 105 with the VPS Healthcare.
He said the majority of the third batch were recruited on a temporary basis from Apollo Hospitals in Tamil Nadu while a few healthcare professionals in the group are those who were already working in the UAE and had got stuck in India during the pandemic.
The medics were seen holding Indian flag and placards of Apollo Project Kavach (Shield), the title of the group’s COVID-19 mission.
“These medical personnel include doctors, nurses, assistant nurses and medical support officers to support the whole effort of the UAE in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. They flew in from Chennai to Dubai this morning,” said Al Banna.
In a statement, DHA said the short-term deputation of medical resources from the Apollo Group is to collaborate with the DHA medical team in their efforts to manage the pandemic.
Dr K Hariprasad, Group President of Apollo Hospitals Group, which is one of the largest integrated healthcare providers in India’s private healthcare sector, said that Apollo Group is glad to support the initiatives of DHA in managing the pandemic.
Dr. Younis Kazim, CEO of the Dubai Healthcare Corporation at DHA and Dr Prathap C Reddy, Chairman, Apollo Hospitals Group had earlier discussed the association and mutual support in tackling COVID-19.
Dr. Kazim said: “This collaboration reflects the deep-rooted relations between the two nations and also highlights the extremely collaborative nature of the global healthcare sector to join hands to tackle this pandemic.”
“We are continuing to build capacity as part of our precautionary and proactive measures and we are working with the healthcare authorities in the UAE to ensure we provide the highest standards of care for COVID-19 patients in the country.”
He expressed DHA’s sincere appreciation and deepest gratitude to all frontline workers including all medical professionals who are working tirelessly to serve patients.”
Ahmed Khoory, senior vice president Commercial West Asia & Indian Ocean at Emirates said: “India and the UAE share a history of cooperation and camaraderie between our people and cultures, and Emirates has been a key connector between these two countries and communities. It was an honour to welcome and fly these true heroes of our times, as both our nations join hands to fight this pandemic. We hope the medical team was happy with our exacting standards and our enhanced health and hygiene protocols both on-ground and on-board. We are continuing to work closely with the authorities and all stakeholders involved to contribute to the local community and the bigger cause.”
The combined efforts and support of all stakeholders including the governments of India and the UAE, DHA, Emirates and Apollo demonstrates shared responsibility beyond geographical boundaries in fighting this pandemic, the DHA statement added.