The United States has upgraded its travel warned to the United Arab Emirates, citing COVID-19 cases as well as the threat of missile and drone attacks.

“The possibility of attacks affecting U.S. citizens and interests in the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula remains an ongoing, serious concern,” said the State Department travel advisory, as quoted by Bloomberg.

“Rebel groups operating in Yemen have stated an intent to attack neighboring countries, including the UAE, using missiles and drones. Recent missile and drone attacks targeted populated areas and civilian infrastructure,” it added.

The statement also noted that COVID-19 cases were “very high” in the UAE. The UAE registered just over 2,600 cases on Thursday.

The warning follows recent missile attacks by Yemen's Houthi rebels on targets in the United Arab Emirates.

The United States on Monday condemned the missile attacks by Yemen's Houthi rebels on targets in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

The Houthis and their allies took over large parts of Yemen, including the capital Sanaa, in 2015. A Saudi-led military coalition then intervened in Yemen to try to restore the government.

It has long been believed that Iran is planning to use the Houthis to take over Yemen and seize the key strategic port of Aden, which controls the entrance to the Red Sea and ultimately to the Israeli resort city of Eilat.

Iran denies it is backing the Houthis and has also denied Saudi Arabian accusations that Tehran provided the Houthi rebels in Yemen with ballistic capabilities.