The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has banned travel from India for 10 days from Sunday due to the worsening COVID-19 situation in the country, according to media reports from Dubai on Thursday.
The travel ban will come into effect from 11.59 pm on Saturday, April 24, and is subject to review after 10 days, the Gulf News reported.
Passengers who have transited through India in the last 14 days are also not permitted to board from any other point to the UAE, the report said.
UAE Departure Flights to Continue
However, departure flights will continue to operate, it added. UAE citizens, diplomatic passport holders and official delegations are exempted from the above conditions, it said.
According to Khaleej Times, people are barred from booking flights from the UAE to Indian destinations after April 24 on the Emirates, Etihad, flydubai and Air Arabia websites. The UAE is the latest country to impose a travel ban on passengers from India after it recorded the world’s highest daily tally of 3,14,835 new COVID-19 infections on Thursday.
The GCAA called on all travellers affected by the decision to follow up and communicate with the airlines to schedule their flights and to ensure their safe return to their final destinations without any delay or other obligations.
Affected customers should contact their travel agent or Emirates contact centre for rebooking options, Emirates said on its website.
“If a passenger’s flight has been cancelled they will be offered a refund or the option to rebook to a later date,” flydubai said in a statement to Gulf News.
Etihad said it is working closely with impacted guests to notify them of the changes to their itineraries.
“Guests who have purchased their tickets through a travel agent are advised to contact the agency from which they purchased their ticket for assistance.”
Only Non-exempt Passengers Barred
Responding to the announcement of the travel curbs, Indian Ambassador to the UAE Pavan Kapoor told Gulf News: “I have been assured by the UAE civil aviation authority that fights are not being suspended and only non-exempt passengers will be barred from flying into the UAE during the restricted period. Flights will continue to operate between the countries.”
“We respect the decision of the UAE Government. We will continue to work with them closely in the area of healthcare, including on dealing with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.
Anil Punjabi, chairman, Eastern Region, Travel Agents’ Federation of India, said travel agents in India also received the notification. “The travel and tourism sector in India have already been hit hard by the pandemic. Further flight suspensions are an additional blow,” Mr. Punjabi said.
The UAE is the latest country to curb travel from India in view of the surge in COVID-19 cases in the country, which has put India’s healthcare system in an unprecedented crisis.
The UK on Monday imposed its strictest travel curbs on India after an explosion of coronavirus cases there, hours after Prime Minister Boris Johnson called off a trip to New Delhi.
Oman, Saudi, Kuwait Join Ban
Oman had announced on Wednesday that it will bar entry to arrivals from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh starting April 24, as part of measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, while the entry ban for passengers from India to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait continues.
The UAE authorities told Gulf News that the decision to suspend flights came after studying and evaluating the epidemiological situation in the friendly nation of India and within the framework of continuous coordination and cooperation with all relevant authorities inside and outside the country that continuously monitor developments in the situation to maintain the security and safety of civil aviation.
The authorities concerned, under the umbrella of the NCEMA, follow up the global situation to take appropriate decisions that ensure the continuity of the work system within the country, while at the same time reducing the risk of the spread of the pandemic.