Coronavirus: all residency visas valid until end of year as UAE confirms 172 new Covid-19 recoveries

There was a total of 4,521 confirmed cases as of Tuesday

Powered by automated translation

All UAE residency visas will remain valid to the end of the year, offering a boost to those left stranded overseas by global lockdowns prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Brig Khamis Al Kaabi, of the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, confirmed the decision on Monday.

Many UAE residents who were out of the country when flights across the world were grounded to stem the spread of Covid-19 remain unable to return, including in India where the world's biggest lockdown has been extended.

The UAE also announced 398 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, bringing the country's total number to 4,521, and confirmed three more deaths.

Twenty-five people have died of coronavirus since the UAE announced its first four cases in late January.

UAE extends visas: What you need to know

UAE extends visas: What you need to know

"A set of decisions have been taken to relieve UAE residents from the effects of the international measures taken to combat the coronavirus," Brig Al Kaabi said.

"Expats who have their visa expiring after March 1, 2020, will have them valid until the end of December this year whether they are inside or outside the country."

He said UAE authorities were working to ensure that expatriates who wished to return to their countries could do so.

"We have received requests from residents and visitors who are inside the country to join their families in their homeland and we are working to co-ordinate these requests," Brig Al Kaabi said.

It was reported that another 172 people had recovered from the virus, bringing the country's total to 852.

Dr Farida Al Hosani, spokeswoman for the UAE health sector, said another 23,383 tests for the virus had been carried out across the country.

More than 600,000 tests have now been conducted since the virus emerged.

Dr Al Hosani called on residents to ignore social media speculation about when cases of Covid-19 might peak in the UAE.

"We can assure you it is not possible to confirm a specific date to reach the peak," she said.

Dr Al Hosani praised efforts to increase  testing through the opening of drive-through centres in the country.

She also lauded a drive announced by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to offer home testing to people with disabilities.

Dr Al Hosani said social distancing, physical spacing and limits to crowd numbers would prove to be successful in slowing the spread of the virus.