Picture used for illustrative purpose only.
The UAE has suspended, effective March 17, all visas to all foreigners, with the exception of diplomatic passport holders.
In a statement released on Saturday, the Federal Authority for Identity And Citizenship (ICA) said: "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.
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 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," the statement concluded.
Separately, 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 on 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, '' the statement added.
''We are maintaining close coordination and cooperation with competent authorities inside and outside the country in regard 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 action that ensures continuity of work inside the country and mitigates potential risks.
The GCAA advised passengers affected by the suspension of flights to contact their respective air carriers to reschedule their flights and ensure their safe return to their final destinations.WAM
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