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UAE, “Israel” Postpone Visa Exemption Deal Over COVID-19 Worries

UAE, “Israel” Postpone Visa Exemption Deal Over COVID-19 Worries
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By Staff, Agencies

The United Arab Emirates has postponed the implementation of a visa-exemption agreement with the “Israeli” entity after the entity required anyone entering from the Gulf state to be quarantined as a COVID-19 precaution, “Israeli” officials said on Monday.

Visa waivers were a centerpiece of a Sept 15 deal formalizing “Israeli”-UAE relations. According to the “Israeli” entity’s so-called Foreign Ministry, they were meant to have gone into effect by Feb 13, having been ratified by Abu Dhabi last Wednesday.

But the “Israeli” ministry said in a statement that its UAE counterpart had "suspended" the waiver agreement until July 1 "given efforts to arrest the spread of the coronavirus".

Citizens of the two countries can obtain visas through their airlines, as tens of thousands have done since the normalization pact.

Monday's announcement followed a decision by the entity’s so-called Health Ministry to require that anyone coming from the UAE be taken to a military-run "coronavirus motel" for a quarantine lasting between 10 and 12 days.

The “Israeli” entity had previously exempted the UAE from its watch-list of so-called "red" countries. The UAE, with a population of 9 million, has seen a surge in cases this month, with new infections surpassing 3,000 per day for the first time.

The “Israeli” entity, whose population is of a similar size, has also been struggling with the pandemic even as it implements the world's fastest-paced vaccination program. The entity’s so-called Health Ministry has logged more than 5,000 new cases per day this week.

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