The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has provisionally terminated the issuance of new visas to people travelling from Pakistan and 11 other nations until further notice.
“We have learned that the UAE has temporarily suspended the issuance of new visit visas until further announcement for 12 countries, including Pakistan,” the country’s Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said.
According to news agency ANI, Chaudhri added that the declaration by the UAE government is “believed to be related to the second wave of COVID-19”.
In addition to Pakistan, the other nations as per UAE government’s new visa directives include Turkey, Iran, Yamen, Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Kenya, and Afghanistan. However, the suspension would not apply on already issued visas, the Foreign Office said.
Since the UAE has several Visa categories, such as business, tourist, transit and student, it is not clear that which of these categories will be hit by the new directives of the government.
This is not the first time where the UAE has imposed travel restrictions on Pakistan. Previously, UAE-based airline Emirates had announced temporary stoppage of passenger services from Pakistan between June-July. The decision came after almost 30 Pakistan nationals, who arrived in Hong Kong, onboard an Emirates flight had tested positive for the virus.
Pakistan is amid the second wave of Covid-19 transmission as declared by the official health body, and a sharp spike in cases was observed since last month. Major cities including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Faisalabad and Hyderabad are the ones that are experiencing an increase in high positivity of the virus.
Pakistan, so far, has recorded 363,380 cases of coronavirus, 7,230 deaths. There are 30,362 active Covid-19 cases in the country, Geo News reported.
Meanwhile, many people are questioning the intent behind the ban since the UAE does not share strong relations with Yemen and Iran, some other countries have also banned visitors from Pakistan in the backdrop of coronavirus.
In order to curb the spread of this virus, Kuwait’s aviation ministry banned commercial flights to Pakistan and 30 other countries which were termed as ‘high risk’.
Different nations have different approaches and restrictions. UK, France, Germany, Belgium and some other European nations had reopened their borders and resumed travel. Nonetheless, the surge in coronavirus cases in these countries was followed by stringent lockdown and international travel restrictions again.
Sources- Dawn, Kayak, The Hindu, TOI and DW.