New Regulations For Travel From Gulf States Take Effect Until August 19
The Arab League, together with the United Nations and other international organizations, has condemned the travel restrictions imposed by Saudi Arabia. This comes as a surprise given that the League is one of the most powerful and respected global organizations. However, there are speculations that the recent attack in Yemen may be an indirect result of the Gulf Cooperation Council’s failure to take strong action against Iran over their uranium enrichment activity. The Gulf Cooperation Council, which is made up of oil-rich nations such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and the UAE, did not pass any sanctions against Iran. So clearly, these latest developments have a wider context.
In the wake of the travel restrictions, the Saudi Arabian government introduced a temporary visa ban on all citizens of certain countries which they consider to be “hostile”. This included passengers from Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria, and a few others. One can safely travel to these countries except for those whose passports are still valid. It is interesting to note that Egypt was one of the countries that did not have travel restrictions before this latest development. It is therefore curious that now Egypt is one of the countries that have implemented travel restrictions.
As if this was not enough, now the United Nations is stating that they have received reports of child marriages involving UAE citizens. This seems to be in line with what the Arab League has said regarding Gulf Cooperation Council’s failure to take action against Iran over its uranium enrichment activity. According to the UAE’s foreign minister, details of the reported weddings were verified by the UN office in Geneva. Now, both the United Nations and the Arab League have denied these allegations. However, UAE foreign minister denied all allegations of child marriage and said that there had been no cases of children getting married abroad till now. He also added that investigations into the matter are underway.
On the other hand, a UAE travel news agency has reported that as per their information, there will be no changes in the medical tourism sector in the country till the introduction of new healthcare policies. A recent survey found that more than five thousand people from gulf states had applied for health-pass schemes from Gulf medics in the past three years alone. Health insurance is one of the things which has witnessed a tremendous rise since the downturn began. People do not have enough money to pay premiums for comprehensive health insurance. This is the reason why they choose medical travel which includes medical insurance coverage.
According to a travel news report, the revised health ministry’s regulations on non-boarding of non-emergency medical flights till August 19th will not affect Gulf airlines who have flights scheduled from UAE destinations until then. According to the new regulation, Gulf airlines will have to arrange passenger service for passengers not required for emergency situations only. The regulation also stipulates that no person, who is above the age of 65 years old, who has a pre-existing medical condition will be allowed to travel without medical insurance.
According to the travel news agency, the new rules and regulations on travel from Gulf countries will not affect ordinary tourist as such, but the same rule will apply for citizens of the emirates who take flights to Dubai or Sharjah from these countries. According to the new regulations, the emirate’s citizens will not be allowed to board non-emergency medical flights to any destination in the UAE, except they will have to seek medical assistance first and get through customs. A similar rule will apply for citizens of other states to travel to the UAE from abroad until the implementation of new Covid-19 travel restrictions is over.