Since the start of the COVID pandemic, the United Arab Emirates has imposed restrictions on its denizens, leaving those who refuse the vaccine to languish in a kind of second-class citizen limbo. And now, they won't even be allowed to leave the UAE, as the tiny petrostate decrees that its citizens who aren't fully vaccinated can no longer travel abroad.
The new restrictions will take effect Jan. 10, and come amid a wave of travel restrictions being imposed by countries across Asia, as well as the rest of the world. Reports of the new decree first arrived via the UAE's state-controlled news agency, WAM, which cited the foreign ministry and the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (and Reuters cited reports from WAM).
According to these reports, fully vaccinated citizens would also require a booster shot to be eligible to travel. The ban would not apply to those with medical or humanitarian exemptions.
The news comes as the UAE confirmed another 2,556 new COVID cases on Saturday, bringing the country's total to 764,493. They also confirmed one additional death, bringing the total to 2,165.
MoHAP also noted that 908 individuals had fully recovered from COVID, bringing the total number of recoveries to 745,963. The ministry said it had conducted 463,616 additional tests during the 24 hours to Saturday.
The UAE has seen new cases surge since mid-December, much like the rest of the world, although the current surge has yet to match levels from early last year.