On Saturday, July 11, authorities in the UAE canceled a visa extension granted to expatriates whose stay in the country was affected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Residents whose visas expired between March 1 and March 31 have been given three months to renew their documents, after the decision to extend visas until December 31 was revoked. Similarly, the decision to extend the validity of identity cards that expired before March 31 to December 31 has also been revoked. Residents currently abroad with expired visas will be granted a grace period to return once flights between their location and the UAE resume. Individuals traveling to the UAE are advised to confirm visa requirements and adhere to instructions and advice issued by local authorities.
On Tuesday, July 7, authorities in Dubai eased travel restrictions for international tourists, permitting their arrival for the first time following a months-long ban. All arrivals must have travel insurance with COVID-19 medical cover, as well as proof of such coverage, or declare that they are willing to bear the cost of treatment and isolation if necessary. All passengers are expected to produce a negative COVID-19 test prior to boarding flights to Dubai that is less than 96 hours old. Failing this, a PCR test is available on arrival and passengers must self-isolate until they receive the results of the test.
Officials in Abu Dhabi eased travel restrictions for residents on Saturday, July 4, permitting short trips outside of the emirate, provided they take a COVID-19 test prior to departure. Residents who take a test prior to leaving Abu Dhabi must return within 48 hours of receipt of the test result. Trips lasting longer than 48 hours require a test to be taken outside of Abu Dhabi at any center affiliated with the UAE's National Screening Programme before return to the emirate.
On June 24, authorities in the UAE lifted the nightly curfew, permitting free movement day and night. However, social distancing measures must be observed. Many businesses and restaurants have since reopened nationwide.
As of July 11, there have been 53,050 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the UAE, with 330 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over 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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