Covid-19: 7-year-old German girl reunited with family in Abu Dhabi

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Godiva Gaertke flew back to the UAE from Frankfurt on Monday night on a special Emirates airline flight.

A seven-year-old German girl was reunited with her parents in Abu Dhabi after she got stuck in her home country for a month due to flight suspension and border closure.

Godiva Gaertke flew back to the UAE from Frankfurt on Monday night on a special Emirates airline flight.

“It was incredible to see her after a month. We are so relieved to have back her home. We never want to leave this country,” Godiva’s mother Viktoria Gaertke told Khaleej Times.

“Everybody was so caring throughout the whole process. We are in love with this country, and to know that the government cares about ex-pats as much as their citizens, we have an extra reason to love UAE,” said Gaertke, who moved to the emirates with her husband Allan in 2018.

Godiva had traveled to Germany to spend her holiday with her grandparents and was supposed to return on March 22.

But her travel plans took a different turn when Germany closed its border on March 16 due to the global spread of Covid-19 followed by UAE’s decision to suspend all inbound and outbound air travel.

“We were super desperate. I started calling all the helplines as we were sure that there would be an exemption for her.”

The mother said they were in touch with the German embassy and the Emirati authorities, who stepped in to help.

Gaertke registered her daughter’s case on the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Twajudi service launched to help bring back residents who are stranded abroad due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions.

The mother said her daughter is “all happy” and in quarantine for two weeks.

“She did not understand why everyone was so excited about her homecoming. She used to ask me over the phone when she would be able to return. And I would keep calm and tell her that we are working on it. But as soon I hang up, I would break into tears. It is hard to be away from your kid, especially when she is so small,” said Gaertke.

German ambassador to the UAE, Peter Fischer thanked the UAE authorities for their kindness.

“We are happy to see a young girl reunited with her family in the UAE. I would like to express my gratitude to UAE authorities for this act of humanitarian kindness. My esteemed colleague Hafsa Al Ulama, the UAE ambassador to Germany, and I joined hands in great Emirati-German teamwork.”

Nearly 29,000 UAE residents with valid visas are stranded abroad due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions imposed worldwide to contain the spread of coronavirus. And UAE missions worldwide are working in coordination with MOFA to repatriate them.