The COVID-19, commonly known as Corona Virus, is spreading across the world at an alarming rate. UAE is also slowing down its pace, temporarily closing down public spaces and entertainment avenues, in an attempt to stop the spread of Coronavirus. The government is taking steps towards limiting the entry and exit of citizens and travellers. It has, in fact, temporarily banned UAE citizens from travelling abroad.
The National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority and the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments of UAE has also announced the suspension of public prayers in all places of worship, be it mosques, churches or temples. This suspension will last till the end of March 2020.
UAE has also halted the entry of Iranian nationals into the country. If however, you are an Iranian national holding a valid UAE Resident Visa, you will be permitted to enter the country.
And it is advised to put all the travel plans on hold. But we also understand wanderlust and how restless it can make a true-blue traveller! So, here’s all the information you need to take an informed decision on whether to travel or not.
Which countries are affected by Coronavirus?
According to World Health Organization (WHO), as of 25th March 2020, 186 countries and territories around the world have been affected by the Corona virus. This list includes popular tourist destinations like Italy, Switzerland, China, South Korea, Azerbaijan, Australia, France, USA, Germany, Hong Kong, Russia, Japan, Indonesia and Spain.
Airlines affected by COVID-19
Such is the impact of the virus that many international airlines have now started cancelling several of their scheduled flights. Due to lockdowns in many countries, domestic as well as international flights have been grounded. In the UAE, all the flights from and to Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Lebanon are discontinued until further notice.
Would it be ok to still carry on with the travel plans?
It is recommended to hit the pause button on all travel plans. The WHO is requesting the elderly and the people with underlying health conditions to postpone their travel plans, at least to the affected areas.
Out of the 186 countries, regions and territories affected by the Corona virus (as of 25th March 2020), there are several countries with very few patients. For example, Mongolia has reported 10 cases, Bhutan and Nepal have 2 each and Sudan has 3 cases. Fiji has reported 4 and Maldives has reported 13 cases.
Lockdowns in many countries affected by Coronavirus
A lot of countries have put up travel restrictions in a bid to stop the rampant spread of this highly contagious virus.
Many European countries including Italy, Spain and France are on a complete lock down. Nobody can go in or out.
USA has sent out a Level 3 advisory – it is asking its residents to reconsider travelling to all foreign countries. This advisory can anytime be changed to a Level 4 (complete travel ban) one.
The European Union will be banning all non-EU nationals from entering its states (countries) for a period of 30 days. The only exceptions to this ban will be family members of EU nationals, long term residents and diplomats. In fact, the United Kingdom is on a complete lockdown.
India had decided to suspend all visas except the diplomatic ones a while ago. Now, it too is on a total lockdown.
Georgia will be banning foreign nationals from entering the nation from 18th March 2020.
Nepal has halted giving visas till 30th April 2020. It has also cancelled and stopped issuing climbing permits for Mount Everest.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is temporarily stopping residents as well as worshippers from other countries from performing Umrah and from visiting the Prophet's Mosque in Medina. KSA has also cancelled visas for people planning to come in from countries affected by the virus. This includes countries like UAE, Egypt, Italy, Kora and Lebanon.
If I do travel, what precautions should I take?
It is advised that you wait for the virus to run its course. However, if for some reason, you do need to travel, it is recommended that you take strict safety precautions in order to protect yourself from COVID-19. These safety precautions include avoiding crowded areas, maintaining social distance, avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth, washing your hands regularly and wearing a safety mask whenever possible.
Our travel advice
Avoid travelling to countries that have high number of people affected by the virus. And once again, don't forget to keep safe distance, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth and keep washing your hands with soap.
Don't panic. Keep calm and collect your information from the right sources. Click here to get all the updated information from WHO.
Ideally, all your travel plans should be postponed until COVID-19 comes under control and a medical remedy/ preventive medicine is found or developed.
#holidaymecares : Coronavirus-related help is here!
Cancellation queries and change in travel plans?Booked a holiday with us and now coronavirus has messed up your travel plans? Worry not, the safety and well-being of our customers is our utmost priority. You can contact our customer care team on the following numbers, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. DXB timings. We will be happy to answer all your queries and sort out all your concerns regarding cancellations and change in travel plans 😊
UAE Toll Free Phone Number: 800 45 45 45
Malaysia: 1800 8188 57
KSA Toll Free Phone Number: 92 000 2963
Worldwide: +971 4245 7300