Unvaccinated UAE citizens will be banned from traveling abroad starting January 10, according to local media, citing the country’s crisis management agencies. Only the fully-vaxxed and boosted will be permitted to leave.
The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation announced the decision in partnership with the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority on Saturday.
Exemptions can be made for those unable to take the shot for medical reasons, as well as “humanitarian cases” and travelers seeking medical treatment abroad, the agencies said.
The nation is far from the first to restrict travel based on vaccination status, though most countries that have done so have framed their regulations in terms of barring the unvaccinated from entering their countries, rather than prohibiting them from leaving.
The question of what it means to be ‘fully vaccinated’ against Covid-19 has been a sticking point for governments trying to adopt a coherent set of regulations, given that nations like Israel have made booster shots mandatory, stripping those citizens previously considered fully jabbed of their vaccine passports, and leaving other countries in a state of flux as they are forced to depend on the whims of foreign governments to draft their own laws.
The UAE reported 2,556 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, bringing the total number to 764,493, and recorded one death attributed to “Covid-19 complications.” A total of 2,165 people have died with the virus in the country since the start of the pandemic, while 745,963 have recovered.