New rules for visitors to Dubai from India and its neighbours

Gulf News
October 16, 2020

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Dubai, Oct 16: Airlines and travel agents on Thursday said they have been asked to implement new procedures for visit/ tourist visa holders flying into Dubai from five countries, after hundreds of passengers stranded at Dubai International Airport since Tuesday were flown back to their countries.

They said as per the latest instructions from the authorities, visit and tourist visa holders from Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Nepal and Bangladesh must hold a valid round trip ticket for entry into Dubai International Airport (DXB) and Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC).

Travellers not complying with the regulations will be sent back to the same destination where they came from on the expenses of the airlines concerned, the airlines were informed. Following this, Indian airlines such as Air India Express and IndiGo issued travel updates for Indian passengers travelling to Dubai on tourist/ visit visas or planning to obtain “visa on arrival” here.

While Air India Express stated that all tourist/visit visa holders to Dubai must hold a valid return ticket to be accepted for travel, IndiGo said such passengers will be denied entry and shall be deported at their own cost and expenses in the absence of a valid return ticket. Travel agents said they have also been informed by that these passengers should have a minimum of Dh2,000 with them. However, the airlines had not made any announcement about this till the time of publishing this report.

Hundreds of Indians, Pakistanis deported

Meanwhile, Indian and Pakistani missions in Dubai confirmed to Gulf News that hundreds of passengers from their countries, who were denied entry for non-compliance of regulations for visit/tourist visa holders, were flown back home while a few dozens were cleared for entry.

“Out of 561 stranded Pakistani passengers, the consulate managed the entry of 23 passengers into the UAE. Of the remaining, 386 have been sent back and 152 are still at the airport. Their repatriation is being arranged on various flights by tonight,” a spokesperson from the Pakistani Consulate in Dubai told Gulf News.

“We are with them at the airport and food is being provided. Our Consul General had meetings with UAE Foreign Office and DG Immigration as well,” he added.

Of around 200 Indian passengers who were stranded at the airport, 120 were flown back home, according to Neeraj Agrawal, consul for Press, Information and Culture at the Indian Consulate in Dubai. “Over 30 were cleared for entry. The rest will be sent back tonight,” he added.

Airline sources had earlier said that there were hundreds of passengers of different nationalities, mainly from the labour-sending Asian and African countries, who were denied entry.

The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai, which had confirmed travellers from Pakistan getting denied entry at Dubai International Airport due to non-compliance with entry requirements for tourist visas, had also clarified that these travelers did not have a valid hotel reservation or a relative’s reference, nor did they have a return ticket booking, as required by the UAE immigration rules. GDRFA also said that the vast majority of passengers that are compliant with the visa rules and arrive at Dubai International Airport face no delays upon entry.

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Agencies
October 24,2020

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Dubai, Oct 24: As cooler climes caress the UAE shores, the Dubai Police have issued a series of instructions for the safety of its residents venturing out to the beach.

In a tweet on Saturday, the Dubai Police urged visitors to the beaches of the emirate to follow the standard procedures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Visitors should always wear a mask and maintain social distancing at the beaches.

No more than five people are allowed to gather except for members of the same family. The authorities warned that violators will be penalised as per the law of the land.

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News Network
October 14,2020

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Doha, Oct 14: Qatar has extended strict quarantine rules requiring travellers to isolate for up to 14 days upon their arrival in the country, local media reported on Tuesday.

“For all arrivals – including nationals, residents and visa holders – quarantine requirements are now extended for all arrival dates up to 31 December 2020,” The Peninsula newspaper reported, quoting the Discover Qatar website.

Arrivals to Qatar from “low-risk countries” will be required to take a coronavirus test at the airport and sign an official pledge to adhere to quarantine at home for a week.

The travellers will then be required to undergo a second test and the quarantine period will end if results come back negative. If it tests positive, the person will be transferred to a government facility for isolation.

People arriving from “high-risk countries” will have to obtain a “virus-free certificate” no more than 48 hours before travelling from an accredited COVID-19 testing facility. They will then adhere to the home quarantine policy when in Qatar.

If travellers are not able to obtain a virus-free certificate in the country of departure, they will be required to book a hotel at their own expense for a week to quarantine for seven days before undergoing a COVID-19 test.

These rules were set to expire on October 31.

Qatari nationals, permanent resident cardholders, and prior approved visa holders are currently permitted into the country. They will be required to undergo a coronavirus test or quarantine upon return depending on whether the country of departure is low risk or not.

The Peninsula also reported: “There is a daily limit on arrivals entering Qatar and demand is extremely high.”

The current list of low-risk countries, as per the ministry of public health’s website, names 40 nations and includes China, Vietnam and Malaysia in the Asia-Pacific; the United Kingdom, Italy, France and Greece in Europe; and Morocco, Algeria and Turkey in the Middle East.

Qatar is one of the worst-hit countries in the Middle East – after Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Israel, and Morocco – reporting 128,405 confirmed coronavirus cases but only 220 deaths.

A total of 125,373 people have recovered from the virus since the start of the pandemic.

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News Network
October 12,2020

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Palestinian prisoner Maher al-Akhras has entered the 78th consecutive day of his open-ended hunger strike against Israel’s so-called policy of administrative detention amid deterioration of his health condition.

Qadri Abu Bakr, head of the Commission of Palestinian Detainees and Ex-Detainees, told the Arabic-language Voice of Palestine radio station on Sunday that Akhras’ health condition has entered the stage of extreme danger.

Abu Bakr further said Akhras has been transferred to another section at Kaplan Hospital after a coronavirus infection was detected in a room next to him.

He went on to say that Akhras is suffering from a weak immunity system, adding that his vital organs have begun to lose some functions. 

Abu Bakr said the coming days will be decisive for Akhras’s demands as well as for his “dangerous” health condition.

In a statement on Saturday, the leader of the Islamic Jihad movement said Akhras’s health condition indicates that Israelis have decided to kill him.

“We have declared a state of full alert, and we will not allow prisoners to be murdered. We also consider murdering any mujahid in this sadistic manner as crossing the red lines, and the prison authorities must be well aware of the consequences of their decision,” the statement said.

Akhras was detained on July 27, and was held under the administrative detention, with no charge. This has led him to start a hunger strike in an attempt to seek justice against the unfair detention.

Last week, the Commission of Palestinian Detainees and Ex-Detainees said Akhras would only end his strike if he was released immediately.

Akhras’ wife also announced a hunger strike and sit-in outside the hospital in support of her husband, calling for his immediate release.

Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners are under administrative detention, in which Israel keeps the detainees for up to six months, a period which can be extended an infinite number of times. Women and minors are among these detainees.

Such detentions take place on orders from a military commander and on the basis of what the Israeli regime describes as ‘secret’ evidence.

Palestinian detainees have continuously resorted to open-ended hunger strikes in an attempt to express their outrage at the detention.

Palestinians hold Israeli authorities fully responsible for any deterioration of the circumstances in jails.

More than 7,000 Palestinians are reportedly held in Israeli jails.

In May 2019, a study revealed that Israel had arrested some 16,500 Palestinian children since the outbreak of the Second Intifada (uprising) in late-2000.

In recent months and in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, several Palestinian prisoners have been infected in an Israeli detention center amid mounting concerns about medical negligence by Israeli authorities.

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