Etihad Airways suspends travel between United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia in effort to prevent spread of COVID-19, March 9.

Severity: Warning Alert

This alert began 09 Mar 2020 19:18 GMT and is scheduled to expire 15 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Travel restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Start Time/Date: March 9
  • Impact: Entry restrictions; disruptions to flight services, health screenings; likely increased immigration wait times

Summary
Etihad Airways - the second largest airline in the United Arab Emirates - temporarily suspended all flights to and from Saudi Arabia to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) March 9.

On March 3, Emirati authorities indefinitely extended an existing ban suspending flights with Iran as part of the nation's effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) had initially suspended all passenger and cargo flights to and from Iran for one week beginning Feb. 25. Authorities also suspended passenger ferry services with Iran from Feb. 27 until further notice. Commercial ships entering Emirati ports are required to provide a statement detailing the health status of their crew 72 hours before arrival. These measures follow a ban on Emirati nationals traveling to Iran and Thailand. Emirati citizens currently in Iran or Thailand have been requested to contact the UAE embassy or the Emirati Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. It is currently unclear whether non-Emirati nationals traveling from Iran or Thailand will be denied entry into the country.

The World Health Organization has declared the ongoing outbreak of the virus to be a global health emergency. COVID-19 originated in China's Wuhan City in Hubei Province.

Advice
Individuals affected by the restrictions should postpone planned travel. Follow all official immigration and health screening instructions. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings. Consider delaying travel if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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