Coronavirus: Dubai aviation sector helps over 37,000 passengers return home from UAE

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Dubai’s aviation sector, alongside a number of embassies and UAE government authorities, helped 37,469 people return to their homes on 312 special repatriation flights operated by 53 airlines amid the coronavirus pandemic despite normal passenger flight operations remaining temporarily suspended at Dubai International Airport (DXB) and Dubai World Central Airport (DWC), the Dubai Media Office said on Thursday.

The temporary suspension of flights at DXB and DWC was implemented on March 24 as part of a comprehensive array of measures initiated by the UAE government to combat the spread of COVID-19.

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"Dubai’s aviation sector has always been renowned for its collaborative approach, but even this already high standard has been surpassed since the onset of COVID-19," said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Airports, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman and CEO of Emirates Group.

The aviation sector in Dubai has collectively stepped up the frequency and intensity of sterilization and deep cleaning programs as well as implementing social distancing measures in the airport environment in full alignment with directives issued by the General Civil Aviation Authority and the Dubai Health Authority.

There are currently 12,481 confirmed coronavirus cases, 105 deaths and 2,249 recovered patients as of Thursday, according to the Ministry of Health.

Travel restrictions amid coronavirus

The UAE extended on April 2 the suspension of entry of all valid visa holders who are outside the country.

The country had suspended issuing all entry visas starting from March 17, and called on its citizens abroad to return to their home country due to travel difficulties in light of the spread of the coronavirus and the travel restrictions the government put in place to contain the outbreak.

It had also suspended on March 23 all passenger and transit flights to and from the country.

The government had asked all those who have valid residency residing outside the country to register for the new service "My presence for residents" on the Ministry's website, as this service aims to facilitate their safe return to the UAE in emergency cases.

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