The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Sunday had announced to temporarily suspend all visas to foreigners effective March 17 due to the Coronavirus pandemic. However, this does not apply to those who already have their visas issued prior to the aforementioned date and the diplomatic passport holders.
In a statement released by the Federal Authority for Identity And Citizenship (ICA) said, "The move comes as part of the precautionary measures taken by the UAE in response to the World Health Organisation's declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic. This development reflects the high risks now associated with travel under the current circumstances."
The statement further added, "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."
Earlier, the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) announced the suspension of all UAE's inbound and outbound flights with Lebanon, Turkey, Syria and Iraq, with effect from March 17 until further notice.
A statement by the GCAA read, ''The decision followed our analysis and assessment of the latest global situation and the scale of the spread of the virus to most countries of the world including Italy."
According to the GCAA, they are maintaining close coordination and cooperation with competent authorities inside and outside the country in regards to the evolving situation. Along with it, the aviation authority has advised passengers affected by the suspension of flights to contact their respective air carriers to reschedule their flights and ensure their safe return to their final destinations.
First detected in Wuhan in December 2019, COVID-19- the novel coronavirus has affected nearly 135 countries in the world. Presently, there are over 142,649 confirmed cases of COVID-19 which has led to the death of 5,393 people. As there is no vaccine or specific antiviral medicine to treat COVID-19, countries have been grappling with all possible mechanisms to contain its scope. So far, China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran have witnessed the most number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus.
(With ANI Inputs)