The second wave of the coronavirus pandemic has once again resulted in governments taking all necessary measures to contain the spread of the deadly infection. In this regard, the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday temporarily suspended the issuance of new visas to visitors from Pakistan and 11 other countries indefinitely, according to the Foreign Office. Other countries include Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Kenya, Tunisia, Iran and Lebanon. The decision by the UAE authorities is “believed to be related to the second wave of COVID-19,” revealed spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri in a statement.
Reports have stated that the UAE is keen on the safety of everyone and is working on vaccine trials, which many Pakistanis residing in the country have received for free. Officials have stated that there should be no panic following the decision, assuring it will not strain relations between Pakistan and the UAE. “We have learnt that the UAE has temporarily suspended the issuance of new visit visas until further announcement for 12 countries, including Pakistan,” he added.
The Foreign Office clarified that the suspension would not apply to already issued visas. The question regarding how many categories of visas – business, tourist, transit and student – would be affected by the suspension still remain unclear. The number of infections has been on the rise in Pakistan since late last month. Pakistan has recorded more than 2,000 daily cases of the novel coronavirus in the last week, with the positivity ratio rapidly increasing in major cities including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Faisalabad and Hyderabad. “This is the time to take precautions. If we do, we can slow down the virus. Just like earlier we were saved due to following precautions, that time has come again,” said Prime Minister Imran Khan, noting that Covid-19 cases in Pakistan had increased by four times in the past two weeks