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Combating coronavirus: Abu Dhabi lifts travel restrictions between regions, emirate entry ban extended

Ismail Sebugwaawo /Abu Dhabi
ismail@khaleejtimes.com Filed on June 23, 2020 | Last updated on June 23, 2020 at 06.52 am
abu dhabi travel ban, uae, coronavirus, covid19

(KT file)

The easing of restrictions follows the promising indicators regarding the number of Covid-19 cases found through testing in Abu Dhabi.

With the lifting of the travel ban within Abu Dhabi regions from today, normal business activities will resume as people can travel between Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Al Dhafra.

The Abu Dhabi Emergency Crisis and Disaster Committee for the Covid-19 pandemic, in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Police and the Department of Health on Monday announced that all residents of Abu Dhabi will now be allowed to move between Abu Dhabi's regions from 6am on Tuesday. However, restrictions on entering the emirate have been extended for a fourth week, with exemptions for all types of goods and mail, and permit holders.

The easing of restrictions follows the promising indicators regarding the number of Covid-19 cases found through testing in Abu Dhabi, said authorities.

However, movement within the emirate is still restricted during the National Sterilisation Programme timings (10pm-6am). Also, the movement of workers into Abu Dhabi is still prohibited.

Businessman Mohammed Abdullah, who operates furniture and merchandise businesses in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, said with the lifting of the travel ban within the emirate's regions, business activities will return to normal.

"The lifting of the ban would enable business activities resume as people can now move freely without having to apply for permits," said Abdullah.

"For the past three weeks, our sales teams could not travel between Abu Dhabi regions to meet customers because of the restrictions. Business has been mostly online, yet sometimes you need to meet customers directly for certain transactions."

Albert Gafayo, managing director of Speed Express Tours and Travel in Abu Dhabi, said the lifting of the ban within the emirate's regions will help his firm resume normal business activities.

"Because of the travel restrictions, people from other regions have been unable to visit our offices in Abu Dhabi and our marketing team couldn't visit our clients in Al Ain and Ruwais," said Gafayo, adding that one-on-one transactions with clients in other regions were not possible when the ban was still in place.

"Restrictions on many places have been eased now. With the lifting of the movement ban, many of our clients who wanted to travel to Abu Dhabi for leisure will be able to move freely."

Gafayo said he had previously applied for travel permits twice, so that he could meet some vendors in Al Ain and Dubai but it was rejected.

Abu Dhabi resident Renju Jacob, an accountant working with a travel firm in Business Bay in Dubai, spent three weeks without travelling to his workplace because of the movement ban.

"It is good that the travel ban between Abu Dhabi's regions has been lifted. I hope that authorities also lifts the ban on entering Abu Dhabi after this new extension," he said.

"My family stays here in Abu Dhabi and my workplace is in Dubai. I have spent three weeks without visiting my workplace because of the restrictions. Being an accountant, I have to do most of the work from the office computer because it requires certain software."

The movement restrictions on entering and exiting Abu Dhabi and between its regions had been imposed from June 2 to ensure mass Covid-19 testing to contain the spread of the virus in the country.

ismail@khaleejtimes.com 

Ismail Sebugwaawo


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