Countries across the GCC have introduced new restrictions on travel, dining, and gatherings to avoid a spike in the number of Covid-19 cases.
Kuwait issued a travel ban on February 7, which is now in place until further notice. All foreign passengers are banned from entering Kuwait. Only Kuwaiti citizens, first-degree relatives of Kuwaiti’s, accompanying Domestic workers, diplomats and their families as well as public and private medical staff can travel to Kuwait.
However on arrival, Kuwaiti citizens and their first-degree relatives will be required to undergo a seven-day institutional quarantine, followed by a week of quarantine at home. Arrivals will be required to pay for the institutional quarantine, undertaken at local hotels, themselves. Arrivals can quarantine at a number of hotels, which range from KD 145 to KD 335 per night.
Kuwaiti patients and students, unaccompanied minors under 18, diplomats and their families, and medical staff and their families are exempt from hotel quarantine, but must undergo a 14 day self-isolation at home.
According to the DGCA, all travellers must register on the ‘Kuwait Mosafer’ platform, and won’t be permitted to travel if they haven’t.
Cafes and restaurants are only able to offer takeaway services from 5 am to 5 pm and Health clubs, salons, barbershops, can operate during these timings but with following full Covid protocol. A ban has also been implemented on all gatherings. Kuwait has also introduced partial curfew from 5 pm to 5 am.
Dubai’s Supreme Committee for Crisis and Disaster Management introduced fresh restricitons on capacity’s at hotels, leisure facilities and restaurants in the emirate at the start of February, in place until Ramadan.
Restauarnts and cafes must close at 1 am, with venues that operate solely as pubs and bars to remain closed. Indoor venues, including cinemas and entertainment and sports venues, will continue to operate at 50 percent of maximum capacity and under intensified precautionary measures. Visitors allowed in shopping malls, and guests in hotel establishments and inside swimming pools and private beaches in hotels, will be limited to 70 percent of total capacity. Intensified monitoring and inspection campaigns will continue to ensure strict compliance with measures including physical distancing and wearing of facemasks.
New guidelines for inbound travel to Dubai have also been introduced, with all arrivals into Dubai required to present a negative Covid-19 PCR test within 72 hours of departure, irrespective of where they’ve travelled from or if they’re a tourist or resident.
All guests attending business and entertainment events in Abu Dhabi must undergo a Covid-19 PCR tests 48 hours prior to doing so, officials confirmed to local media.
In a circular issued by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi on March 8 to tourism and hotel establishments as well as event organisers, the department said that venue and organising staff of these events must undergo a Covid-19 PCR test every week.
For UAE residents and tourists, including returning Abu Dhabi residents, it is mandatory to undergo either a Covid-19 PCR test or DPI laser test. For those taking a PCR test, the test must be undertaken within 48 hours of travelling to Abu Dhabi, for those undergoing a DPI test must present a result taken within 24 hours.
Those who opt for the PCR test and stay for four days or more must take two Covid-19 PCR tests on days four and eight of their time in Abu Dhabi. Visitors or residents who present a DPI test who stay for more than 48 hours are required to undergo a PCR test on day 3 of entry, and a second one on day 7 if staying for a week or longer. The day of arrival counts as day one.
Among the previously issued and prevailing Covid-19 restrictions, the operating capacity of shopping malls have been capped at 40 per cent; taxis to 45 per cent; gyms, private beaches and swimming pools to 50 per cent; restaurants, coffee shops, hotels, and parks to 60 per cent and buses to 75 per cent.
Oman has ordered that commercial activities across the country be suspended between 8 pm-5 am from Thursday, March 4 until Saturday, March 20, 2021, as it seeks to contain the Covid-19 virus, Arab business reported.
Oman’s Supreme Committee which is tasked with dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic said on Monday that the closure covers restaurants, cafés and cafeterias as well as home-delivery services. The ban exempts petrol stations, health facilities and private pharmacies.
The committee added that online learning will continue in public schools from March 7-March 11, after which the decision will be reviewed.
It added that there has been “a steep surge in number of infection and deaths due to the prevalence of new, mutated variants of the virus,” reported state channel Oman News Agency. On a domestic front, it said that the “data shows a rise in number of patients admitted to hospital and deaths in all parts of the sultanate.”
In some of the governorates in the country, the committee said that “a surge beyond the red mark was registered, with an alarming swell linked to travel.”
The data also indicated the presence of ‘international mutated strains (among them the South Africa variant)’ in the country.
Oman already suspended entry of passengers from 10 countries starting from February 25 for a period of 15 days. The 10 countries are: Lebanon, South Africa, Brazil, Sudan, Nigeria, Tanzania, Ghana, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Ethiopia.
In fresh restrictions introduced last week, indoor gyms, sports halls and swimming pools were ordered to close and social gatherings in homes limited to up to 30 people. The restrictions are now in place until at least March14.
On February 3, Saudi Arabia temporarily suspended arrivals from 20 countries, including arrivals from the UAE to help curb the spread of coronavirus and to help keep cases of the new South African, Brazilian and English variants out of the kingdom. Countries included in the temporary ban are Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Portugal, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the UAE, UK and the US. This also includes passengers who have transited through any of these countries in 14 days before their planned arrival, meaning passengers can no longer travel through transit hub, Dubai. Diplomats, Saudi citizens, medical staff and their families are exempt.
New restrictions were also announced on February 4 by the Saudi Press Agency, effective from 10pm that day, on events and leisure activites. For 30 days, there’s a ban in place on weddings, meetings and events. All other social gatherings should be limited to a maximum of 20 people.
Some elements are beginning to reopen: Cinemas, indoor entertainment centers, gyms, and sports centers were permitted to reopen from March 7, and restaurants and cafes that were ordered to move to takeaway and delivery only can now offer dine-in services again.
After a significant increase in Covid-19 cases Qatar reintroduced a number of restrictions-
Playgrounds and sports equipment in public parks, beaches and the corniche have been closed, the renting of boats and yachts is suspended, and many other facilities will have capacity rules cut. Cinemas and theatres can stay open, but must only permit over 18s and should operate at 30% capacity.
Amusement parks and all entertainment centers in commercial complexes inside closed places must close, while those in open spaces must limit capacity to 30%.
Markets, libraries and museums must operate at 50% capacity, hairdressers and beauty salons must reduce capacity to 30% and indoor restaurants are limited to 15%, unless restaurants are part of the “Clean Qatar” programme, which can operate at up to 30% capacity. Outdoor restaurants and cafes can operate at 50% capacity.
Gyms must operate at 30% capacity, massage services can be provided only at five-star hotels at 30% capacity, while saunas and steam rooms, Jacuzzi services and Moroccan and Turkish baths must close. Outdoor pools and water parks are allowed to stay open at 30% capacity, but indoor pools and water parks must close.
From February 7, a temporary ban was issued on weddings, although there are exceptions for home or majlis weddings, which are limited to 10 people in closed spaces or 20 in open spaces. All guests must be relatives of the spouses, and the Ministry of Interior must be notified of the date and location of the ceremony.