The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has temporarily suspended issuing new visas to visitors for Pakistan and 11 other countries until further notice. Pakistan’s foreign office on 18 November confirmed it, saying that the decision by the UAE authorities was “believed to be related to the second wave of COVID-19”.
“We have learned that the UAE has temporarily suspended the issuance of new visit visas until further announcement for 12 countries, including Pakistan,” the country’s Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said.
Besides Pakistan, the UAE government suspended the processing of visa applications from Turkey, Iran, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Kenya, and Afghanistan among others.
This development coincides with a rising number of COVID-19 cases in the country. For nearly one week, Pakistan has recorded over 2,000 new Covid-19 cases.
In August, Kuwait’s aviation banned commercial flights to Pakistan and 30 other countries regarded as ‘high risk’ due to the spread of the coronavirus.
The number of infections has been rising in Pakistan since late last month and authorities have declared that the country was witnessing the second wave of Covid-19. The positivity rate of the disease has increased, especially in major cities including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Faisalabad and Hyderabad.
Back in June, when cases in Pakistan were on the rise, the Emirates had announced the temporary suspension of passenger services. The decision came after around 30 Pakistanis who arrived in Hong Kong on board an Emirates flight tested positive for the virus. The airline resumed its flights in July.
On 16 November, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan had urged the people to “act as a nation” in order to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has so far infected 3,63,380 people and claimed 7,230 lives in the country.
Pakistan has so far recorded 3,63,380 cases of coronavirus infection and 7,230 deaths. There are 30,362 active Covid-19 cases in the country, Geo News reported. The positivity rate of the disease has increased, especially in major cities including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Faisalabad and Hyderabad.