Starting from January 29, 2021, UK is banning direct passenger flights to and from the UAE. The way from Dubai to London is the busiest international route in the world.
Starting at 1 p.m. U.K. time, passengers who’ve been in or transited through the UAE in the previous 10 days will also no longer be allowed to enter the country.
Visitors from Burundi and Rwanda in Africa are barred as well. Exemptions usually in place, including for business travel, will no longer apply.
On January 28, 2021, Grant SHAPPS the UK Transport Minister said on social media: “This implies individuals who have been in or transited by these nations can be denied entry, besides British, Irish, and third nation nationals with residence rights who should self-isolate for ten days at residence”.
The U.K.’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and Department for Transport said in a joint statement that “The decision to ban travel from these destinations follows the discovery of a new coronavirus variant first identified in South Africa that may have spread to other countries, including the UAE, Burundi, and Rwanda”.
Returning British and Irish citizens, as well as third-country citizens with residence rights, will be able to enter the U.K., but they will have to self-isolate at home for 10 days, along with their households.
Dubai to London was the world’s busiest international route in January with 190.365 scheduled seats over the month, according to airline data provider OAG.
The UK transport department advised British nationals currently in the UAE to make use of indirect commercial airline routes if they wished to return to Britain.
The UAE is home to thousands of British expatriates and has been a popular destination for social media influencers during the pandemic. They have created upset in the UK by claiming to have traveled for work and then posting holiday pictures online. The country is currently in lockdown with people told not to travel overseas.
The state news agency WAM said British tourists in the UAE will have their visas extended free of charge.
The UAE will continue to be “an important hub for travel and logistics,” while taking steps like testing and administering vaccines to combat the virus, WAM said in a statement acknowledging the U.K. travel restrictions. The UAE is battling a rise in infections, with a record 3.966 cases on January 29, 2020.
This article was edited using the data from the Aljazeera.com, Englishheadline.com, Thenationalnews.com, Bloomberg.com, and Bloombergquint.com.