UAE says residents, citizens cannot travel abroad for tourism yet

A spokesman for the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) said travel abroad is only allowed currently for study, medical treatment, diplomatic missions, business and residents who want to visit or return to their home countries. (AFP/File Photo)
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Updated 01 July 2020

UAE says residents, citizens cannot travel abroad for tourism yet

  • Essential travel is permitted but will be assessed on case by case basis, NCEMA said

DUBAI: United Arab Emirates authorities on Wednesday said residents and citizens were not yet allowed to travel abroad for tourism and leisure purposes and all travel abroad needed a permit, as part of restrictions aimed at stemming the spread of the new coronavirus.

A spokesman for the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) said travel abroad is only allowed currently for study, medical treatment, diplomatic missions, business and residents who want to visit or return to their home countries.

“Essential travel is permitted ... but will be assessed on a case by case basis according to risk levels,” Saif Al-Dhaheri told a virtual news conference.

He said these were “indicative” guidelines set at a national level and local authorities would announce additional procedures.

The UAE said two weeks ago that citizens and residents would be permitted to travel abroad from June 23 under conditions that were to be announced.

Dubai, one of the seven emirates that make up the UAE federation, has said it will allow foreign visitors to fly in from July 7, but the other emirates have not announced a similar measure.

The UAE halted all passenger flights in March and banned foreign citizens from entering the Gulf Arab state except those holding UAE residency, who required UAE government approval before returning.

Limited outbound repatriation flights have been operating to certain countries.

The UAE has recorded 49,069 cases of the new coronavirus and 316 deaths.


Lebanon information minister quits in first government resignation over blast

Updated 09 August 2020

Lebanon information minister quits in first government resignation over blast

  • Manal Abdel-Samad apologizes to the Lebanese public for failing them
  • Explosion killed more than 150 people and destroyed swathes of the capital

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s information minister Manal Abdel Samad on Sunday quit in the first government resignation since a deadly port blast killed more than 150 people and destroyed swathes of the capital.

“After the enormous Beirut catastrophe, I announce my resignation from government,” she said in a statement carried by local media, apologizing to the Lebanese public for failing them.

The head of Lebanon’s Maronite church meanwhile called on the entire government to step down over the August 4 explosion, a blast widely seen as shocking proof of the rot at the core of the state apparatus.

Lebanese protesters enraged by the blast vowed to rally again after a night of street clashes in which they stormed several ministries.

Maronite patriarch Beshara Rai joined the chorus of people pressing Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s cabinet to step down over a blast he said could be “described as a crime against humanity.”

“It is not enough for a lawmaker to resign here or a minister to resign there,” Rai said in a Sunday sermon.

“It is necessary, out of sensitivity to the feelings of the Lebanese and the immense responsibility required, for the entire government to resign, because it is incapable of moving the country forward.”

Rai echoed calls by Diab for early parliamentary polls — a long-standing demand of a protest movement that began in October, demanding the removal of a political class deemed inept and corrupt.

He also joined world leaders, international organizations and the angry Lebanese public by pressing for an international probe into an explosion authorities say was triggered by a fire in a port warehouse, where a huge shipment of hazardous ammonium nitrate had languished for years.

President Michel Aoun on Friday rejected calls for an international investigation, which he said would “dilute the truth.”

At least six lawmakers have quit since the explosion.

Under increased pressure from the street and foreign partners exasperated by the leadership’s inability to enact reforms, Diab’s government is fraying at the edges.