The United Arab Emirates has suspended the issuance of visa to people from Turkey, Pakistan and ten other countries until further notice. Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, Spokesperson, Foreign office, Pakistan confirmed it on Wednesday. Chaudhri said that it is possible that the decision was based on the possible second wave of Covid-19 in these countries.
There is no official confirmation from the UAE authorities yet. The visas that had already been issued will be valid.
We have learnt that the UAE has temporarily suspended the issuance of new visit visas until further announcement for 12 countries, including Pakistan. The suspension is not applicable on already issued visas: Pak Frgn Office Spox @Zhchaudhri— Sidhant Sibal (@sidhant) November 19, 2020
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) spokesperson Abdullah Hafeez said those who have iqama, transit and work visas would be allowed to enter UAE. There are several visa categories in UAE such as business, tourist, transit, student, etc., and it is unclear which amongst of them will be affected by the decision.
UAE had banned travellers from Pakistan in June and August amid Covid-19 spread
In June, UAE’s Emirates Airlines had suspended passenger services from Pakistan till 3rd July stating Covid-19 spread. The decision was taken after 30 Pakistani passengers who arrived in Hong Kong on an Emirates flight were tested positive for coronavirus. Later in August, Kuwait had announced a ban on commercial flights to 31 countries that included Pakistan.
Rising cases in Pakistan and Turkey
In the last few weeks, both Turkey and Pakistan have witnessed a spike in the Covid-19 cases. Over the last six days, Pakistan has reported over 2,000 daily cases. Majority of the patients were found in cities like Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Faisalabad, Hyderabad etc.
On the other hand, Turkey had recorded over 4,200 cases yesterday. The number of cases in Turkey was at the peak in April when it crossed 5,000 cases-per-day mark. Later in July, it came down to 900+ instances per day but cases began to rise slowly in August. Over the last week, the daily new cases have almost doubled.