The United Arab Emirates will soon not permit its citizens to leave the country unless they have received a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot.

The UAEs Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the new policy on Saturday. It will take effect Jan. 10 and require that people be fully vaccinated and boosted before traveling internationally.

The policy only applies to UAE citizens and will not apply to the large group of expatriates who live in the country, The Washington Post noted. 


The UAE was among the first countries to launch a coronavirus vaccine booster campaign amid concerns that the Chinese-developed Sinopharm shot was not as effective as other doses. Now, residents ages 18 and up are able to receive their booster six months after their last shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Sinopharm or Sputnik vaccines, all of which are offered in the UAE, the Post added.

Cases in the UAE have soared recently from around 50 daily new cases at the beginning of last month to over 2,250 new cases reported on Sunday. The uptick in infections comes as nearly 100 percent of people in the UAE have received at least one dose of a vaccine and more than 90 percent are fully vaccinated, according to Our World in Data. 

Early last year, COVID-19 cases in the UAE peaked around nearly 4,000 per day.

At that time, the government imposed new restrictions on some hotels, bars and nightclubs and limited the number of people permitted in places such as malls.