Dubai: The UAE has suspended all visas to all foreigners, with the exception of diplomatic passport holders, effective March 17.

According to an official statement issued by the Federal Authority for Identity And Citizenship (ICA), 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, a development which reflects the high risks now associated with travel under the current circumstances. The decision does not apply to those who already have their visas issued prior to the aforementioned date.

It noted: “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 taken for the common good of all nations of the world to curb the proliferation of the novel virus. 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.”

Meanwhile, the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), has announced the suspension of all inbound and outbound flights with Lebanon, Turkey, Syria and Iraq, with effect from 17th March, and until further notice.

The move is part of the country’s proactive precautionary and preventive health measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, said the GCAA in a statement Saturday.

”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. We are maintaining close coordination and cooperation with competent authorities inside and outside the country in regards to the evolving situation. The statement further added that stakeholders operating under the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority, NCEMA, are monitoring the latest global developments in order to take appropriate actions that ensure continuity of work inside the country and to mitigate potential risks. Passengers affected by the suspension of flights can contact their respective air carriers to reschedule their flights and ensure their safe return to their final destinations.”

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