Emirati authorities announced that UAE residents and citizens will be able to travel to select destinations from Tuesday, June 23, as part of the easing of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions. Travel to the approved destinations will be allowed based on a classification system and travel restrictions based on public health, testing, quarantine, pre-registration for travel, and follow-up with travelers.
Destinations will be classified into three categories: low risk, medium risk, and high risk. UAE citizens and residents will be permitted to travel to "low risk" countries. According to reports, a limited number of Emirati nationals will be able to travel to "moderate risk" countries for reasons including, in emergencies, essential medical care, to visit first-degree family members, or for military, diplomatic, or official missions. No travelers will be permitted to travel to the countries deemed "high risk".
Individuals will be required to submit a request to travel abroad through the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship website and will need to register with the "Tawajudi" service. All travelers will be required to undergo a COVID-19 test within 48 hours of their scheduled departure. Travelers will be required to present the results to airport authorities in the UAE using the government's 'Al Hosn' app which will also need to be pre-downloaded and registered. All travelers who test positive will be prohibited from traveling. Individuals will also need to provide proof of international health insurance which is valid for the duration of the trip abroad and covers medical services in the destination country. Individuals suffering from chronic disease are advised against all travel and individuals over 70 years old will be prohibited from traveling.
Strict precautionary measures will be imposed at UAE airports; the use of face masks or coverings and gloves will be required by all individuals on both departure and arrival. In addition, regular hygiene protocols such as hand sanitizing and disinfecting as well as social distancing practices should be adhered to. Passengers will be required to complete health declarations which state they will act responsibly with regards to their health, quarantine upon return to the UAE, and will not travel outside the destinations approved by authorities. These documents will be checked on departure and arrival.
Passengers returning to the UAE will be required to complete health declarations and provide detailed information about their travel and their health status. Individuals will be required to download the 'Al Hosn' government app. They will undergo further testing on arrival and will be required to self-isolate for 14 days either at their homes, or if not possible, at a facility or hotel at their own expense. This must be done within 48 hours of entering the country. The quarantine period may be shortened to seven days in specific cases, though the individuals will still be required to undergo a COVID-19 test.
As of Thursday, June 18, there are 43,752 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the UAE and 298 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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