Governments around the world have taken precautionary measures against Covid-19.
PHOTO BY ARCHIVE
DUBAI – Rumours have circulated on social media about travel bans and mandatory quarantine for all passengers arriving in the UAE from Covid-19 high-risk countries, but what is the truth?
Here is the real score behind the rumours amid the outbreak of the new coronavirus:
In detail: As of March 19, the UAE government ordered that all expatriates who are returning to the UAE from trips abroad will not be able to return for two weeks beginning at 12pm on Thursday (March 19) as part of new measures to combat the spread of the new coronavirus or Covid-19.
Only Emiratis who are returning from trips abroad are allowed entry to the country.
This new directive comes a day after the UAE banned Emiratis from travel and implemented a mandatory 14-day home quarantine for all travellers returning to the UAE.
As a precautionary measure against Covid-19, all passengers arriving at Dubai airports will need to undergo thermal scanning and medical swab testing. Those found with symptoms of coronavirus will be sent to the hospital for treatment and quarantine.
In Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, all passengers arriving at the Abu Dhabi International Airport and Sharjah International Airport will undergo thermal screening, with symptomatic passengers to be assessed by medical personnel.
As of March 18, Emiratis are temporarily banned from traveling abroad, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation announced. The decision will be in force until further notice.
As of March 19, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation suspended the issuance of all types of labour permits as a precautionary measure against the new coronavirus or Covid-19.
The suspension also includes issuance of permits for drivers and domestic workers. The new directive is effective immediately “until further notice”. Only permits for intra-corporate transfer and Expo 2020 permits are exempted.
On March 14, the UAE announced that no new UAE visa will be issued to all foreigners beginning on March 17 as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus pandemic. The decision does not apply to holders of diplomatic passports and anyone who was issued a visa before March 17. In a statement, the Federal Authority For Identity and Citizenship said the measure will be effective until countries of departure activate a mechanism for medical screening of passengers.
Visa on arrival for all eligible travelers will also be suspended from March 19 “until further notice”.
In detail: As of March 18, the UAE Attorney General said there is a 14-day mandatory home quarantine for anyone arriving to the UAE.
Attorney General Hamad Al Shamsi said that the Public Prosecution will strictly apply the law to violators.
Passengers coming from China, Hong Kong, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Japan, Germany, Singapore and France were the first to be required to go on self-quarantine at their home for 14 days, a Dubai Health Authority official said earlier this month.
Dr. Manal Taryam, CEO of Primary Healthcare at the DHA, said travelers returning from these countries of concern “will be asked to practise home quarantine and social distancing” as part of precautionary measures.
Companies may also decide to ask their staff to go on self-quarantine. Some companies in the UAE have reportedly asked staff returning from vacation abroad to undergo self-quarantine for 14 days.
In Abu Dhabi, all passengers arriving at Abu Dhabi International Airport will be screened for symptoms and “appropriate measures will be taken according to the UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention”. A representative of the Department of Health at the Abu Dhabi International Airport told Expatmedia.net that authorized personnel will do an initial assessment to determine whether suspect passengers will be required to undergo quarantine.
Abu Dhabi International Airport said that medics will visit aircrafts to screen passengers for high body temperature before they are allowed to disembark from the plane. Passengers will then be transported by sanitized buses and taken to an isolation area for further procedures. Passengers will be given swab tests, and their travel history checked, if necessary. Before leaving the airport, passengers will undergo thermal screening.
In Sharjah, all arriving passengers at the Sharjah International Airport will undergo thermal screening at the Immigration section. A representative told Expatmedia.net that passengers detected with symptoms of coronavirus, such as fever, will be taken to a medical centre at the airport for further assessment.
In detail: Etihad, Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific have suspended all flights between the UAE and Manila following the Philippine government’s imposed “enhanced community quarantine” over the island of Luzon. An Etihad spokesperson said all flights between Abu Dhabi and Manila are suspended from March 18 until further notice. Philippine Airlines said all flights between Dubai and Manila are suspended from March 20 until April 12. Cebu Pacific said that flights between Dubai and Manila from March 19 until April 14 will be cancelled.
All other flights between the UAE and other Philippine destinations are operating as normal.
On March 22, Emirates airline announced it was suspending all its passenger flights starting on March 25 due to the economic impact of coronavirus. On March 10 the airline said that it has suspended daily flights from UAE to Venice from March 12 to 31 and will reduce daily flight frequency to Milan from three to one.
Earlier, Emirates also announced that passengers from China, Philippines, Pakistan, India and 17 other countries will not be permitted to board Emirates flights to Saudi Arabia over coronavirus fears. The ban covers Emirates passengers–from 21 countries–who are visiting Saudi Arabia on tourist visa or Umrah visa.
Filipinos and foreigners intending to fly out of the Philippines through international airports in Luzon have from March 17 to 19 before international flights are banned from leaving starting on March 20 as part of an “enhanced community quarantine”. This is expected to affect UAE-bound flights from Manila and Clark, forcing passengers to look at rebooking their flight to other airports in the country.
In detail: Doctors have refuted rumours of garlic, ginger tea and yoga as miracle cures, saying these are only “general things to boost immunity for any disease, and nothing specific to coronavirus”.
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