UAE's bold initiatives to contain coronavirus
Dubai - No new visas will be issued from March 17.
Published: Sun 15 Mar 2020, 11:21 PM
The UAE has announced a slew of preventive measures, including suspending issuance of visas, suspension of all events and weddings, closing down of entertainment centres, cultural sites and cinema halls, to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
In a statement released on Saturday, the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) said that effective from March 17, the UAE has suspended all visas to all foreigners, with the exception of diplomatic passport holders.
"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," said the authority.
The decision does not apply to those who already have their visas issued prior to the aforementioned date.
The ICA noted that the additional precautionary decision will be valid until a mechanism for medical examination has been established in the countries of departure as part of other global measures to curb the proliferation of the novel coronavirus.
The Dubai Media Office tweeted that the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing has instructed all hotels, entertainment destinations and wedding halls to cancel all scheduled events from March 15.
The Department of Culture and Tourism has decided to temporarily close cultural sites in Abu Dhabi, starting from March 15 until March 31, 2020. Closed cultural sites include Louvre Abu Dhabi, Manarat Al Saadiyat, Qasr Al Hosn, Culture Foundation, Al Ain Palace Museum, Al Ain Zoo, Al Jahili Fort and Qasr Al Muwaiji.
Likewise, the authority also announced that cinema halls across the capital will be shut until further notice and inspection drives will be held to ensure strict adherence to the new norms.
Airlines like Air India, Spice Jet and Indigo have also cancelled or rescheduled some flights to Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Cruise operations are also suspended for all ships from local and foreign ports at Abu Dhabi cruise terminal in Zayed Port and Sir Baniyas cruise beach until further notice, authorities announced on Saturday.