UAE: GCC Coronavirus Report

March 22, 2020 – UAE – Senat MEA Legal Consultancy

The United Arab Emirates 

Cases of the Covid-19 virus in the United Arab Emirates are recorded at 153, with 2 deaths, as of March 22.

In response to the pandemic, the UAE has implemented several measures in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus, including the following:

  • The UAE Ministry of Education has closed all nurseries, schools, universities and training institutions for four weeks from 8th March
  • The UAE has suspended the entry of all its valid visa holders, who are currently out of the country, for a renewable period of two weeks effective 12.00 noon of Thursday, March 19, due to the spread of Covid-19.
  • Suspension of flights across Australia, Asia, Africa, South America, North America, and Europe.
  • Events, tourist and cultural destinations, most amusement facilities, bars and public beaches have closed with immediate effect (the extent of the closures differ between each Emirate)
  • Passenger cruises are not allowed to dock in the UAE
  • Suspension of various routes by air, land and sea

Further closures are expected in the coming days with social distancing being actively encouraged. Many companies across the Emirates are opting to work remotely, and all business and non-essential travel is discouraged.

Together with the above measures, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai presented an AED 1.5 billion (USD 410 million) stimulus package with 15 initiatives that serve the retail, trade, tourism and energy sectors in Dubai to reduce costs for the business sector and residents for the next three months. Water and electricity bills are to be reduced by 10%, and hotels are now exempt from postponement fees for tourism and sports activities.

The Central Bank of the UAE has announced a comprehensive AED 100 billion Targeted Economic Support Scheme to contain the repercussions of the pandemic Covid-19.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 

The KSA authorities have announced measures aimed at limiting the spread of the virus, including mandatory quarantine, entry restrictions and temporary suspension of international flights. Umrah and visits to the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina is suspended until further notice, and commercial markets and malls have closed except for pharmacies and food supply stores.

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority has announced that a SAR 50 billion (USD 13.32 billion) package will be made available to help SME’s cope with the economic impacts of coronavirus.

Kuwait

The Kuwait Government has announced entry restrictions disallowing entrance of non-Kuwaiti Nationals and there are no commercial flights into, or out of Kuwait, until further notice. Land borders have closed, and commercial facilities, as well as entertainment destinations, have been shut.

Bahrain

 The Government of Bahrain has suspended visa-on-arrival across the Kingdom’s entry points until further notice, and those entering Nationals will be subject to testing on arrival. The Formula One (F1), due to take place from 20th to 22ndMarch, has been postponed over coronavirus worries.

Oman

Oman has formed a supreme committee to deal with coronavirus and has banned the entry of non-GCC citizen’s through all land, sea and airports from 17th March, with anyone entering to be placed under quarantine. Oman has announced closure of all public facilities and the suspension of all schools and universities.

Qatar

 Qatar has been the GCC country worst hit by the coronavirus to date with 481 confirmed cases of the disease recorded thus far. From 18th March no international passengers, including those with a residency permit, will be allowed entry into Qatar and all public transport has been suspended around the country. The government has advised against all social gatherings, has closed universities, schools, gyms and cinemas and postponed sporting and public events.

The government has announced a USD 23 billion economic stimulus which includes USD 2.75 billion to support the stock market.

For more information on the above or in other matters, please contact Emma Cronin (ec@senatmea.com) or Rena Clute-Simon (rcs@senatmea.com).

 This article is based on publicly available information and given for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice or as a comprehensive analysis of the matters referred to herein.