Coronavirus: latest news, advice and travel information

Stay up to date with the latest coronavirus guidance and developments in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and around the world

Coronavirus: latest news, advice and travel information

To check the current coronavirus measures and travel guidelines for your country, click here.

At this point, it goes without saying that coronavirus has shaken up all of our day-to-day lives.

So far the virus has spread across six continents, and governments around the world are responding by encouraging or mandating precautionary measures to help stem the coronavirus spread.

With events constantly changing, we’ve put together this handy FAQ to bring you some help, tips and perspective. You don’t need to panic, and for the moment, life should continue as normal (even if it does mean slightly more Netflix than usual). But it won’t hurt to stay clued up on the official advice, as detailed below.

Think you’re coming down with something? Worried you’ll have to cancel your holiday plans? Stay up to date with our guide to the latest coronavirus guidance and developments.

What is coronavirus?

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that started in animals and is now being transmitted between humans. The symptoms include coughs, fever, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. First identified in Wuhan, China, the virus has (as of April 1) affected more than 850,000 people in 188 countries. Some 42,000 have died, while around half have already recovered. On March 11 the World Health Organisation labelled the outbreak a ’pandemic’.

How bad is coronavirus?

Unlike flu, there is no vaccine (yet), and recovery depends on the strength of the immune system. In severe cases the virus may cause pneumonia and/or organ failure.

Compared to Sars (another coronavirus that hit headlines in 2003), the mortality rate of COVID-19 is low: around 3.4 percent according to the latest WHO estimate. This is, however, significantly higher than regular seasonal flu, which is fatal in around 0.1 percent of cases. So far, COVID-19 also appears to be more contagious than seasonal flu.

The elderly and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease are most likely to develop a severe illness relating to COVID-19. The death rate is ten times higher among the very elderly compared with the middle-aged, according to the WHO. Children are less likely to be affected.

Which countries have been worst hit by coronavirus?

As of April 1, Italy has recorded more than 105,000 cases, the USA more than 188,000, Spain more than 95,000 and Germany 71,000. France and Iran are also managing major outbreaks, with more than 52,000 cases and 44,000 cases respectively.

As of April 1, there have been 644 cases recorded in the UAE. You can keep up to date using the Bing COVID-19 tracker right here.

To check the current coronavirus measures and travel guidelines for your country, click here.

How will coronavirus affect my day-to-day life?

First: don’t panic. The spread of the virus outside China wasn’t unexpected, and governments have been making plans and issuing advice.

As of noon on Thursday March 19, the UAE has suspended visa entry to the country, for both visitors and existing valid visa holders. The suspension is set to last for two weeks.

According to WAM, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has requested that those with valid visas who are now outside of the country to contact their employers and their embassy or consulate for support, while those who are on vacation or travelling in a country other than their home country should contact the UAE embassy or consulate on the ground.

The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) meanwhile encourages families of those affected by the decision to get in touch, which can be done over the phone or email, as below:

• Landline: 02 312 8867 /65

• Mobile: 050 106 6099

• Email: operation@ica.gov.ae


If you’re in Dubai

As of March 23, the local authorities have decreed that the following organisations and services suspend operation until the end of March:

Sea cruises
Desert camps and tours (safaris)
Floating restaurants
Massage parlours and spas
Museums, historical sites and public libraries
Theme parks (motiongate Dubai, LEGOLAND Dubai, LEGOLAND Waterpark Dubai, Bollywood Parks Dubai)
Tourist attractions (including Global Village, At The Top, Dubai Ice Rink – click here for the full list)
Service of shisha in all cafés and coffee shops
Gyms and fitness facilities
Nightclubs, bars, pubs and lounges
All public events (including but not limited to live music concerts and wedding parties)

From Tuesday March 24, all shopping centres, malls and fish, meat and vegetable markets have been ordered to close for a renewable period of two weeks.

Supermarkets, pharmacies and food retail outlets will remain open.

If you’re in Abu Dhabi

As of March 23, the local authorities have decreed that the following organisations and services suspend operation until the end of March:

Museums, historical sites and public libraries (including the Cultural Foundation, Louvre Abu Dhabi and Qasr Al Watan)
Theme parks (including CLYMB Abu Dhabi, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi,  Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi and Yas Waterworld )
Tourist attractions (including Al Ain Oasis, Al Wathba Wetland Reserve, Jubail Mangrove Park, click here for the full list)
Service of shisha in all cafés and coffee shops
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
All public beaches, parks, cinemas and sports halls
• Restaurants will remain open but can only reach 20 percent capacity, so a safe distance between diners is maintained at any given time
Nightclubs and venues with a capacity of more than 400 people
All public events (including but not limited to live music concerts and wedding parties)
• Shops in My City Centre Masdar City will open from noon until 8pm, with the exception of Carrefour, phamracies and clinics. 

From Tuesday March 24, all shopping centres, malls and fish, meat and vegetable markets have been ordered to close for a renewable period of two weeks.

Supermarkets, pharmacies and food retail outlets will remain open.

What are the official guidelines for my country?

– Australia
Travel advice
Coronavirus information

– Canada
Travel advice
Coronavirus information

– China
National Health Commission
Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention

– France
Travel advice
Coronavirus information

– Germany
Travel advice
Coronavirus information

– Italy
Travel advice
Coronavirus information

– Japan
Travel advice
Coronavirus information

– New Zealand
Travel advice
Coronavirus information

– Singapore
Travel advice
Coronavirus information

– South Korea
Korea Tourism Organization
Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

– Thailand
Travel advice
Coronavirus information

– United Kingdom
Travel advice
Coronavirus information

– United States
Travel advice
Coronavirus information

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