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UAE to allow in tourists fully vaccinated against COVID

With coronavirus infections on the decline, the Gulf nation is set to host the Expo 2020 trade fair next month

A woman takes a selfie photograph with the Dubai Marina behind her at The View at the Palm observation deck in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, July 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)
A woman takes a selfie photograph with the Dubai Marina behind her at The View at the Palm observation deck in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, July 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

DUBAI — The United Arab Emirates announced it will resume issuing visas to all tourists fully vaccinated against COVID from Monday, a month before Dubai hosts the delayed Expo 2020 trade fair.

The move came amid a drop in coronavirus infections in the oil-rich Gulf country, after it reported less than 1,000 cases per day last week for the first time in months.

The UAE’s decision to reopen its doors to tourists from all countries was made in order “to achieve sustainable recovery and economic growth,” the official WAM news agency reported on Saturday.

Those eligible would have to be fully inoculated with one of the COVID-19 vaccines approved by the World Health Organization, which include AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, Sinopharm, and Sinovac.

“The decision applies to citizens of all countries, including those arriving from previously banned countries,” WAM said.

“Passengers arriving on tourist visas must take a mandatory PCR test at the airport,” it added.

The UAE is made up of seven emirates including the capital Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

While life in the country has largely returned to normal amid the pandemic, it continued to enforce strict rules on wearing masks and social distancing.

In this Oct. 8, 2019, photo, technicians walk at the three thematic districts at the under construction site of the Expo 2020 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

Dubai was last year counting on the six-month Dubai Expo 2020 — delayed a year by the health crisis and now set to open in October — to attract millions of visitors and boost the economy.

Heavily reliant on tourism, the emirate was one of the first destinations to open its doors to travelers, accepting tourists in July last year, just a few months after the pandemic took hold.

Abu Dhabi, meanwhile, has been more cautious, opening up to some visitors only in December.

The UAE as so far recorded more than 715,000 cases of COVID-19 infection, including 2,036 deaths.

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