The United Arab Emirates has announced that it will resume issuing visas to tourists fully vaccinated against Covid-19 from this Monday, a month before the start of the 2020 World Expo, which has been postponed by a year due to the health crisis. The new measure comes amid falling infections in the oil-rich Gulf country, which last week saw fewer than 1,000 cases on consecutive days for the first time in months.
The decision to reopen the gates to vaccinated tourists from all over the world is aimed at “achieving sustainable recovery and economic growth,” the official WAM news agency reported on Saturday. To travel to the Emirates one must be fully vaccinated with one of the vaccines approved by the World Health Organization namely AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, Sinopharm and Sinovac.
715,000 cases of Covid-19, including more than 2,000 deaths
“The ruling applies to citizens of all countries, including those from previously banned countries,” WAM said. Every passenger traveling to the Emirates on a tourist visa must take a PCR test at the airport, the agency added. The United Arab Emirates is made up of seven principalities, including the capital Abu Dhabi and Dubai, where measures against the coronavirus and vaccination rules remain different.
Life has largely returned to normal across the country, but residents must adhere to strict social distancing rules and wear a mask outdoors and in public places. With the World Expo starting in October, Dubai hopes to fill up with visitors after a year and a half marked by the health crisis. With little oil and the most diversified economy in the Gulf, Dubai has relied heavily on tourism and entertainment in recent years.
Dubai was one of the first destinations to open its doors to international visitors in July 2020 amid the Covid-19 pandemic that has paralyzed the travel industry. Abu Dhabi did the same in late December. In total, the country has registered more than 715,000 cases of Covid-19, including more than 2,000 deaths.