DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Resident visa holders in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) who have been stranded outside the country following the suspension of all incoming and outgoing flights can finally heave a sigh of relief as they will be exempted from fines – at least for the next 3 months.
This, according to Major General Mohammad Ahmad Al Marri, director general of the Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs-Dubai, who told a local television show on Wednesday, April 1, that the reprieve was based on a UAE Cabinet decision issued this week.
“All people holding any kind of UAE visas or residency will be exempted from any fines for a renewable period of 3 months. Holders of UAE residency (who) are out of the country are part of the decision issued by our wise leadership,” local daily Gulf News quoted Al Marri as saying during the interview with Dubai TV.
The senior immigration official added: “There are different types of residency visas and all are exempted now as of March 1. They are also exempted from any financial penalties incurred under the current conditions.”
“The move is part of a series of precautionary and preventive measures to limit the negative consequences of the coronavirus outbreak on various sectors in the country. The decision aims to facilitate procedures for citizens, residents, and visitors, ensure their health and safety, and support the work progress and continuity of government work in various entities and sectors,” Al Marri was further quoted as saying.
The UAE suspended all flights on March 19 as part of measures to prevent an outbreak of COVID-19 in the country. As a result, resident visa holders who were on leave or on business trips outside of the country were left stranded where they were.
On April 1, the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) announced that 150 new cases of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed in the UAE, bringing the total number to 814.
It was the biggest single-day increase in infections since the numbers started to sharply increase in March.
Around 13 of the patients were Filipinos, 3 of whom have recovered. There are approximately 750,000 Filipinos in the UAE.
MoHAP also revealed that two more COVID-19 patients have died – an Asian national and a GCC national aged 62 and 78, respectively. Both had chronic illnesses, including heart disease. The total number of deaths has now reached 8. – Rappler.com