UAE authorities have resumed the issuing of visas to foreign travelers from Thursday, September 24, following a six-month suspension amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Travelers will be able to apply for visas to visit all seven regions of the UAE. The easing of restrictions comes as part of the country's plans to support economic recovery.
Entry into Abu Dhabi requires either a negative COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result or a negative Diffractive Phase Interferometry (DPI) laser test result within 48 hours of arrival. On September 12, Abu Dhabi health authorities announced that anyone entering must take an additional PCR COVID-19 test on the sixth consecutive day of their stay in the emirate. Violators of the new measure will be subject to fines and legal proceedings. Those who leave the emirate in under six days and then return will be required to take a PCR or DPI test to gain re-entry. Volunteers in the emirate's COVID-19 vaccine trials are exempt and are also permitted to use emergency vehicle lanes to travel.
As of Thursday, September 24, there have been 87,530 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the UAE with 406 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). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
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.