The United Arab Emirates temporarily suspended the issuing of new visas for visitors from Pakistan and eleven other countries until further notice, said the Federal Foreign Office.
The decision by the UAE authorities is said to be “related to the second wave of COVID-19,” Foreign Office spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said in a statement.
“We learned that the UAE has temporarily suspended issuing new visitor visas pending further announcements in 12 countries, including Pakistan,” he said, adding that the government is seeking official confirmation from the UAE authorities on the matter.
However, the suspension would not apply to visas that have already been issued, said the Foreign Office.
It was not immediately clear how many categories of visas would be affected by the suspension. The UAE has different types of visas including corporate, tourist, transit and student.
Other countries affected by the UAE government’s new visa guidelines include Turkey, Iran, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Kenya and Afghanistan.
In June, when cases were escalating in Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates airline Emirates announced that it would temporarily suspend passenger service from Pakistan until July 3. The decision came after around 30 Pakistanis who arrived on board an Emirates flight in Hong Kong and tested positive for the virus. The airline resumed flights in July, the Dawn News reported.
In August, Kuwait’s aviation banned commercial flights to Pakistan and 30 other countries because of the spread of the coronavirus as “high risk”.
The number of infections in Pakistan has increased since the end of last month, and authorities have said the country witnessed the second wave of COVID-19. The positivity rate of the disease has increased, especially in major cities like Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Faisalabad, and Hyderabad.
On Monday, Prime Minister Imran Khan urged the people to “act as a nation” to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has so far infected 363,380 people and claimed 7,230 lives in the country.