Decision to be reviewed in four weeks

Amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, it has been announced all public prayers in places of worship in the UAE are to be cancelled.

On Monday, the National Crisis and Emergency Management Authority and General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments stated all prayers at mosques, churches and temples will temporarily be cancelled in a bid to contain the spreading of coronavirus, and to safeguard public health of UAE citizens.

As of 9pm yesterday all prayers in places of worship have been suspended for the next four weeks and will then be reviewed after that time period.

UAE authorities has called on all citizens and residents to comply with the directives in the interest of health and safety.

Shutdowns in Dubai

Additionally as of yesterday, all Dubai pubs, bars and lounges are to close until the end of March. In a statement from the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, all bars, pubs and lounges have been instructed to close effective immediately for the next two weeks.

Dubai skyline coronavirus shutdown

These announcements came after all events were suspended in Dubai from Sunday 15 March until the end of the month.

Also per the direction for the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, all entertainment destinations, hospitality establishments and wedding halls to “suspend” operations from 15 March until the end of the month.

All gyms, spas and parks have also closed for the next two weeks.

Similar closures have also taken place in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Kuwait.

Suspension of entry visas

Effective as of today, all entry visas to the United Arab Emirates are to be suspended.

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.

passport boarding pass

However, following the statement from the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, Dubai Airports issued their own statement clarifying the changes to entry visas stating that some countries are exempt from the. suspension.

“Effective March 17, UAE authorities have temporarily suspended the issuance of all entry visas,” the statement on the Dubai Airports website said. “This does not apply to those passengers holding diplomatic passports or those who have had visas issued prior to March 17.

“It also does not apply to passengers who hold passports from the following countries. These passengers can continue to travel to and from the UAE although may be subject to additional screening.”

People from these countries are exempt from the visa ban: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy (from Rome only), Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Vatican, United Kingdom and the United States of America.

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Images: Instagram, Osama Al Zubaidi