Traveling To UAE During Coronavirus: Everything You Must Know

by Vaishnavi Venkataraman
Traveling To UAE During Coronavirus: Everything You Must Know

The coronavirus threat has spread across the globe and unfortunately UAE has not escaped the horror. The UAE reported a case of the virus on 29 January. Later, the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention revealed two new cases diagnosed with coronavirus, bringing the total number to seven in the country. But now, the number has sadly risen to a whopping 21 cases, five of whom have recovered.

Credits: Gulf Business

That said, life does not stop, isn’t it? Travellers have been upset over travel bans, hotel closures and flight cancellations, while a few others also opt for places that are free of the virus and its threats. However, in case you have made travel plans from the UAE, here’s what you must know:

Flight Cancellations

This is for sure not the right time to plan a trip to China. Airlines from across the world have cut services to China as well as hundreds of other countries, where the virus appears as a threat. Besides, the UAE has also banned all flights to and from Iran and Thailand.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has issued a travel ban, calling on all UAE citizens to not travel to Iran and Thailand at present and up until further notice.

Saudi Arabia has temporarily suspended visas for pilgrims visiting the holy city of Makkah over coronavirus fears. Furthermore, Saudi has also suspended visas for tourists from countries where the virus has had a rampant spread. Besides, the UAE is also coordinating with the Islamic Republic of Iran in order to evacuate Iranian visitors in the UAE back to Iran.

Etihad airways has suspended flights to Hong Kong until 28 March 2020. Meanwhile, British airways has called off all flights to China as well as permitting passengers traveling to Italy, to reschedule their plans free of cost. Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific have also cut hundreds of flights. Delta, the world’s largest airline has minimized services and has also waived off re-scheduling fee on select routes.

JetBlue, American Airlines and Qantas have also cut flights to select destinations including China, Hong Kong and Singapore. It’s best you check with your airlines prior to booking or flying.

Hotels

Two hotels on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi have been quarantined to contain the spread of COVID-19. Besides, all Ports and entry points in Abu Dhabi are fitted with thermal scanners that monitor people regularly.

Hilton has closed about 150 hotels totaling 33,000 rooms in China, while Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, closed 1,000 hotels. Hyatt has closed 26 hotels in across China, Macau, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Meanwhile, Marriott and several other hotels across China have waived off cancellation fees until 15 March. Other hotels in Spain’s Tenerife and in Austria have been closed.

Events & Other Activities

A host of events have been called off due to the coronavirus outbreak. Firstly, the KHDA has taken some precautions to avoid the spread of the virus. KHDA has ordered all private schools and universities in the UAE  to cancel internal and external trips, amps, teacher or student events, sports, immediately until further notice.

Furthermore, students will also be asked to declare travel details if anyone in their family travelled to countries with high infection rates, including China, South Korea and Iran, in the past 28 days. However, parents are urging KHDA to shut schools until 1 April, considering the safety of the children.

The Abu Dhabi Sports Council cancelled the 2020 UAE Tour, after two staff members tested positive for Covid-19 last Thursday. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) also tested participants, staff members and organisers through periodic screening in order to curb the spread of the virus.

Safety Measures

  1. The first and the best way to steer clear of being infected is to avoid traveling to the countries that are under threat of the virus.
  2. Was your hands regularly and use a sanitizer
  3. Use a tissue to touch toilet seats, taps, chairs etc
  4. Using a mask is subject to his/her wish – as there are mixed views about the same
  5. Stay away from people who are evidently unwell