WTTC estimates 75 million travel tourism jobs are at risk globally due to COVID-19 pandemic
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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) – a federation of seven emirates consisting of capital Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain – announced a two-week lockdown on April 5 to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and announced there will be disinfection drives.
Prior to this, the UAE had advised all citizens to restrict themselves to essential travel only, and had implemented a curfew between 8pm and 6am every day.
According to the Emirates News Agency WAM, the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHaP), on April 6, announced 294 new cases of the novel coronavirus in the UAE, bringing the total number of cases to 1,799. MoHAP also announced the full recovery of 19 cases as a result of receiving the necessary medical care, taking the number of recoveries to 144.
Now it will be a two week, 24-hour lockdown (subject to renewal) with restrictions on travel, the media quoted Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management as saying. The committee has also announced a two-week, 24-hour sterilisation campaign in Dubai emphasising that residents have to stay at home and anyone violating the restrictions will face stringent legal action.
Media reports also say that the committee has made it mandatory for citizens who have to leave home for essential purposes to register on a website floated by it. However, employees in exempted vital sectors do not have to register but need to present a letter from their employer stating the purpose of their commute. The letter can also be used to waive radar violations during the sterilisation period.
The Emirates News Agency reported on April 5 that the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, in cooperation with the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the General Civil Aviation Authority, and the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority, has launched an 'Early Leave' initiative.
The initiative aims to enable residents who work in the private sector and wish to return to their home countries to do so during the period of precautionary measures undertaken in the UAE to contain the spread of COVID-19. Employees will be asked to submit their annual leave dates or agree with their employers on unpaid leave.
UAE had sealed its borders on March 26 and airlines companies, Emirates and Etihad, had suspended all flights.
On April 3, Emirates announced that they have been approved to fly passengers outbound from the UAE to some destinations from April 6. Initial flights to commence from Dubai to London Heathrow, Frankfurt, Paris, Zurich and Brussels. They also warned that stringent entry restrictions remain in place at these destinations as well as others across the world; travellers advised to check before travel.
Etihad has also announced that it will be operating a number of outbound flights (starting April 5) to help foreign citizens return home from Abu Dhabi. Repatriation flights will start with Seoul Incheon, followed by destinations such as Melbourne, Singapore, Manila, Jakarta and Amsterdam. These destinations are subject to government approvals. All other flights to, from and via Abu Dhabi have been temporarily suspended.
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