A sweet ending to an arduous wait

After months of separation due to pandemic curbs, duo from Kuwait to reunite with their toddlers

For Maneesh Narayanan and Eldhose Baby who work as healthcare professionals in Kuwait, Tuesday morning will bring with it a sweet reunion with their toddlers at the Kochi airport after an arduous wait of six months.

Mr. Narayanan, 35, working with the Health Department in Kuwait, said the country had chartered flights for health workers to return from Kerala to Kuwait from June to August. The cardiac perfusionist and his wife, Suby, who is also a health worker, had arrived in Kochi in February on leave. They returned to Kuwait by the first flight in June, worried that they might lose their jobs if they did not, but had to leave their daughter behind.

“We had to leave Dhaksha, our four-year-old daughter, behind with her grandparents in Ernakulam. The Kuwait government would not allow children to return with the workers,” Mr. Narayanan said.

With Kuwait also having shut its airport to flights from several other countries, including India, following the spread of the novel coronavirus, the parents were in a dilemma. Mr. Narayanan wrote to officials in the Health Department, hoping for a change in regulations.

The Kuwait government issued a circular earlier this month, allowing first-degree relatives of employees of the Ministry of Health to enter the country via direct flight. Even health workers could not enter the country directly earlier, and the couple had to quarantine themselves in Dubai for 14 days before returning to Kuwait in June, Mr. Narayanan said.

For Mr. Narayanan and Mr. Eldhose, a nurse from Angamaly who had to leave his three-year-old child behind in Ernakulam, the order brought a long-awaited relief. They will arrive in Kochi on Tuesday and return to Kuwait with their children after a three-hour wait at the airport. Since his wife is pregnant, Mr. Narayanan wanted to return to Kuwait immediately. He said, “We were not the only ones to have faced this situation. Several other workers who returned on chartered flights from Kochi, Thiruvanthapuram, and Kozhikode had to leave their children behind,” he added.

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