The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Wednesday temporarily suspended the issuance of new visit visas to Pakistan, Turkey and 10 other countries.
However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFa) clarified that the suspension would not applicable on already issued visas.
“Dubai Standard learnt that the UAE has temporarily suspended the issuance of new visit visas until further announcement for 12 countries, including Pakistan,” Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said.
He said that the measures are believed to be related to the second wave of Covid-19. “We are seeking official confirmation from the UAE authorities in this regard,” he added.
According to media reports, the UAE government has also suspended the issuance of visit visas to Iran, Yamen, Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Kenya and Afghanistan among others. All airlines have been informed about the decision.
Pakistan reported another 2,208 cases and 37 fatalities on Tuesday, according to the country’s official portal on coronavirus – covid.gov.pk. The new cases were recorded against a total of 38,544 tests conducted during the day. The tally for confirmed cases has now reached 363,380 with 7,230 fatalities in the country.
On Monday, Prime Minister Imran Khan had said that Pakistan remained safe in the previous Covid-19 pandemic wave compared to other countries and the government was able to save the economy – though the service sector was affected to a great extent.
Tourism, wedding halls and restaurants were greatly affected, when the economy was shut down the last time, the premier had said, adding that Pakistan emerged better than many countries after the first Covid-19 wave.
Pakistan came out of the pandemic earlier because the people practiced the SOPs, he said, sharing that the whole world closed down the mosques during Ramazan but Pakistan kept them opened and the virus “did not spread from the mosques because our scholars urged people to follow SOPs”.
On the same day he had announced that the government had decided that there would be no more political rallies across the country, keeping in view the rapid increase in Covid-19 cases in a fortnight.
According to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), the coronavirus cases continue to surge by more than 2,000 new cases every day.
While updating the nation about the decisions taken in the National Coordination Committee (NCC) meeting, Premier Imran had said that weddings would be allowed only in open spaces with no more than 300 people; while everyone would be required to wear face mask and maintain distance.
“Regarding schools, we have decided to monitor the situation for another week. If we observe that the virus is spreading through schools, then we will extend winter vacations and reduce summer vacations,” he added.
Pakistan came out of the pandemic earlier because the people practiced the SOPs, Imran said, sharing that the whole world closed down the mosques during Ramazan but Pakistan kept them opened and the virus “did not spread from the mosques because our scholars urged people to follow SOPs”.
On Sunday, the UAE said it would extend its “golden” visa system – which grants 10-year residency in the Gulf state – to certain professionals, specialised degree-holders and others.
Foreigners in the UAE usually have renewable visas valid for only a few years tied to employment. The government in the past couple of years has made its visa policy more flexible, offering longer residencies for certain types of investors, students and professionals.
All holders of doctorate degrees, medical doctors and also computer, electronics, programming, electrical and biotechnology engineers are eligible, UAE Vice President and the ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum said in a statement.