There are many families across the UAE that will be celebrating today in the knowledge that from Aug. 5, resident visa holders stranded in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal are free to enter the country.
It is important to stress that this measure only applies to UAE residents holding valid visas from these nations along with others in the same category from Nigeria and Uganda. In addition, the decision from the General Civil Aviation Authority and the National Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management Authority also applies to certain other limited categories of passengers including medical professionals and students.
This step on the return to normalcy is a welcome development, one that shows that we are all beginning to emerge from these past 20 months of restrictions on our movements and activities. It is a sign too that the mass vaccination programmes being undertaken by governments globally are now taking effect, allowing the tentative easing of restrictions that were necessary to combat Covid-19.
Proof of vaccination
Indeed, it is important to remember that UAE residence holders to whom this latest development applies must also show proof of vaccination. This is essential to maintain our fight against the virus, and it is vital too to ensure that UAE’s public health measures and defences would not be weakened by allowing unvaccinated persons in the country.
We have come a long way since the outbreak of the pandemic to allow our achievements to be undermined by the spread of the virus once more. The latest move by the UAE has been taken keeping in mind the safety and well-being of everyone.
Covid-19 has been a challenge in more ways than one. Too many families have lost loved ones. Some had to endure the pain of separation as travel restrictions were necessary to prevent the rampant spread of this virus and its variants.
This development too is good news for everyone associated with the airline industry, hard hit by the necessary limitations on travel.
Around the world, the airlines of the UAE have flown our national colours — and opening up once more to Southeast Asian markets is a clear sign that soon things will be back to normal. Now, too, stranded workers can look forward to resuming their jobs, earning salaries and providing once more for families and dependents.
This crisis is not yet over — but we are seeing the end game begin to unfold.