UAE extends ban on travellers from Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh
DUBAI – A ban on travellers from four South Asian countries where the highly infectious Delta variant was detected will continue for three more weeks, Etihad Airways said on Wednesday (30).
The national airline said restrictions on passengers from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka would remain in place until July 21.
The ban was first imposed on travellers from India in late April, when cases there soared, followed by the other three on May 12.
No information was given about Nepal, which was included in the original ban earlier in May.
The extension is understood to cover all UAE airports and airlines, but no official announcement was made on Tuesday (29).
Emirates earlier this week told passengers that the July 7 lifting of the ban was unlikely.
Reviews of the India ban, in particular, has led to restrictions being extended several times, as news arose of the variant spreading.
In the UAE, one-third of cases (33.9% ) analyzed were of Delta, officials said this week.
The Beta variant, which emerged in South Africa, was most prevalent, with the UK one, Alpha, accounted for 11% of cases.
Etihad said passengers can reschedule flights.
Meanwhile, a two-week Sri Lankan ban on inbound passengers from Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, and Kuwait comes into effect at midnight on Wednesday (30) and is set to continue till July 13. The ban was imposed on account of COVID-19 confirmations among returnees, particularly from the Gulf countries, continuing to spike.
Cabinet Spokesman, Keheliya Rambukwella told reporters on Tuesday the decision was taken after more than 100 new COVID-19 cases were detected from amongst the latest arrivals from the Middle East. He said the matter was discussed at the Cabinet meeting and that the temporary ban was unavoidable.
However, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of Sri Lanka said transit passengers from Gulf countries will be permitted to disembark in Colombo.