Suspended from March 17
As part of the attempts to contain the global coronavirus outbreak, all entry visas to the United Arab Emirates are to be suspended effective as of March 17.
In a statement issued by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, the organisation said the decision has been made as a precautionary measure in order to contain the spread of coronavirus. This comes after the World Health Organisation announced the spread of the outbreak was now considered a pandemic.
“The ICA affirms that the decision stems from the UAE’s deep sense of responsibility and diligent efforts in collaboration with other countries of the world to fight the coronavirus pandemic and survive this ongoing crisis,” the statement added.
There is no firm date as to when the suspension will be lifted, but it will reportedly stay in effect until the implementation of medical screening measurements for those arriving in the UAE.
How does the suspension affect you?
For those who are already residents, nothing affects you. However, the government is warning all non-essential travel be put on hold due to the risks posed at this current time.
If you have already had your visa issued before March 17, this does not effect you either. Although if you’re on a tourist visa that’s set to expire soon, it is advisable for you to look at extending your visa online.
At the time being the Oman border is closed and many visa run companies, like Go Tours Dubai, have issued statements saying, “Visa run trips are cancelled until further notice.”
While visas on arrival were still permitted for certain countries, that has now changed. From March 19 there will be no visas on arrival issued until further notice.
Closures in Dubai and Abu Dhabi
At present, there are major shutdowns taking place in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
On Saturday evening, it was announced via the official Dubai Media Office Twitter account “all events in Dubai should be suspended from Sunday 15 March 2020 [until] the end of the month”.
In Abu Dhabi all main tourist attractions are to be closed as of March 15 for the next two weeks.
This announcement came after President Donald Trump posted a ban on people entering the US travelling from Europe, with many other countries closing its borders including Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel in a bid to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Coronavirus labelled as a ‘pandemic’
On Wednesday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) determined the coronavirus outbreak to be a worldwide “pandemic”.
“WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock and we are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction,” the WHO director-general said.
“We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterised as a pandemic.
“Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death.”
According to a report from WHO, as of March 13 globally there have been 132,700 confirmed as 132 758 confirmed cases, over 80,000 of which are in China, and nearly 5000 deaths, 3200 of which are in China.
On Thursday March 12, it was announced my the Ministry of Health and Prevention there were 11 new cases of coronavirus in the UAE, bringing the total to 85. However, so far, there have been 17 confirmed recoveries, making the current number of active cases 68.
More information on coronavirus:
- Tips on how to prevent the spread of coronavirus
Images: Instagram, Getty