The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Wednesday, November 18 suspended the issuance of visit visas to visitors from 11 countries including Kenya.
Other countries affected by the directive include Turkey, Iran, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The suspension will, however, not apply to already issued visas.
Reports indicate that the suspension was informed by fears of a second wave of Covid-19.
As Dubai is a popular destination among Kenyan travelers, the directive will force many to rethink their holiday plans for the festive season.
At the moment, tourists travelling to Dubai from Kenya must take two COVID‑19 PCR tests: one before departure with a validity of 96 hours from the date of the test, and a second test upon arrival in Dubai.
The UAE has so far recorded 155,000 cases of Covid-19, 146,000 recoveries and 544 deaths.
Coronavirus cases have surged across the Middle East in recent weeks, leading to calls from the World Health Organizations (WHO) for greater adherence to health protocols.
Ahmed al-Mandhari, Director of WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean region which includes much of the Middle East, warned on Thursday, November 19 that countries were letting their guard down.
Pakistan and Lebanon, for instance, went under lockdown this week following a worrying increase in new infections.
“The lives of as many people – if not more – are at stake,” al-Mandhari stated, while calling for action to “prevent this tragic premonition from becoming a reality.”
He further noted that social distancing and mask-wearing was not being adhered to by many people in the region.