UAE suspending all passenger flights to curb spread of coronavirus

UAE suspending all passenger flights to curb spread of coronavirus
An Emirates jetliner comes in for landing at Dubai International Airport in Dubai in this Dec. 11, 2019 file photo. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell, File)
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Updated 23 March 2020

UAE suspending all passenger flights to curb spread of coronavirus

UAE suspending all passenger flights to curb spread of coronavirus
  • The UAE announced on Friday its first two deaths from the COVID-19 disease
  • Only cargo and emergency evacuation flights would be allowed

DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates announced on Monday it will temporarily suspend all passenger and transit flights amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The Emirati authorities “have decided to suspend all inbound and outbound passenger flights and the transit of airline passengers in the UAE for two weeks as part of the precautionary measures taken to curb the spread of the COVID-19,” reported the official state news agency, WAM.
It said the decision — which is subject to review in two weeks — will take effect in 48 hours, adding: “Cargo and emergency evacuation flights would be exempt.”
The UAE, whose international airports in Abu Dhabi and Dubai are major hubs, announced on Friday its first two deaths from the COVID-19 disease, having reported more than 150 cases so far.
Monday’s announcement came hours after Dubai carrier Emirates announced it would suspend all passenger flights by March 25.
But the aviation giant then reversed its decision, saying it “received requests from governments and customers to support the repatriation of travelers” and will continue to operate passenger flights to 13 destinations.
Emirates had said it will continue to fly to the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, South Africa, the United States and Canada.
“We continue to watch the situation closely, and as soon as things allow, we will reinstate our services,” said the airline’s chairman and CEO, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum.
Gulf countries have imposed various restrictions to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic, particularly in the air transport sector.
The UAE has stopped granting visas on arrival and forbidden foreigners who are legal residents but are outside the country from returning.


Denmark halts UAE flights for five days over COVID-19

Denmark halts UAE flights for five days over COVID-19
Updated 23 January 2021

Denmark halts UAE flights for five days over COVID-19

Denmark halts UAE flights for five days over COVID-19
  • The statement said the UAE was communicating with Danish authorities “to clarify the details and cases”

COPENHAGEN: The UAE said on Friday it was in talks with Denmark after the Nordic country temporarily halted all flights arriving from the Gulf Arab state, a major travel hub, due to potentially unreliable coronavirus tests in Dubai.

Denmark’s transport ministry said the five-day travel restrictions, comes after concerns were raised about the coronavirus tests administered in Dubai before departure. It added it had taken the decision after a detailed tip-off, without elaborating.
“All accredited UAE testing centers are regularly subject to strict quality checks,” the UAE foreign ministry said, adding there are severe penalties for non-compliance with international standards to ensure the highest level of quality in testing.
The statement said the UAE was communicating with Danish authorities “to clarify the details and cases” behind the decision in order to guarantee the safety of all travelers.
Denmark earlier this month made it mandatory for travelers to show a negative test from the previous 24 hours before departure toward Denmark from all countries.
Late on Friday, Danish Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said on Twitter 50 persons with COVID-19 had flown in from Dubai in January alone. 33 of those arrived after Denmark made it mandatory to test negative for COVID-19 before departure.
Several Danish celebrities, including former footballer Nicklas Bendtner, were criticized earlier this month after Danish media reported they had traveled to regional tourism hub Dubai on holiday despite the government advising against going abroad to limit the spread of the coronavirus.