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Covid: Dubai eases travel restrictions for passengers from India, South Africa and Nigeria

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Dubai
dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com Filed on June 19, 2021
AFP

Entry will now be permitted to residents who have received two doses of UAE-approved vaccines.


Authorities in Dubai announced a revision in procedures for travellers coming from the Republic of India, South Africa and Nigeria on Saturday.

Rules issued by the Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management in Dubai are effective from June 23, the Dubai Media Office said.

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The updates are part of the Committee’s keenness to protect passengers and ease hassles for them without compromising on Covid-19 preventive measures, said Chairman of the Supreme Committee Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The Media Office announcement said the updated travel protocols are part of a normal process of revising and optimising preventive measures based on the latest local, regional and international developments. Following the announcement, UAE carrier Emirates Airlines confirmed it would start carrying passengers from South Africa, Nigeria and India in accordance with the new protocols from June 23. “We look forward to facilitating travel from these countries and supporting various travellers’ categories,” an official statement from the airline said.

Residence visa holders from India and travellers from South Africa should’ve taken two doses of a vaccine approved by UAE authorities and carry RT-PCR tests reports from labs approved by the federal governments of these countries. But for Nigerians vaccination is not made mandatory but all other conditions apply. In addition to the above, Indians have to take a rapid PCR test four hours prior to their travel.

While there are four vaccines in the UAE for use on eligible individuals against the Covid-19 infection —- Sinopharm, Pfizer-BioNTech, Sputnik V and Oxford-AstraZeneca, it is unclear if the UAE has approved vaccines administered on Indian, South African and Nigerian citizens in their countries.

In response to Dubai’s decision to relax travel norms for residency visa holders, the Indian Ambassador to the UAE Pavan Kapoor told Khaleej Times: “We welcome the steps taken by the UAE authorities. We’ve been discussing the concerns of residents who’ve been stuck in India for some time, and this is a starting point for some of our citizens who are currently in India.”

Responding to the development, Consul-General of Dubai to India Dr Aman Puri, said: “We welcome this decision and are thankful to the Dubai government for easing entry restrictions for inbound passengers from India to Dubai. The new protocols have come as a relief to many UAE residents stranded in India. We look forward to working together with the Dubai authorities on a calibrated approach to resume regular air traffic over the ensuing weeks.”

UAE citizens, however, are exempt from a majority of the travel protocols, including the pre-travel RT-PCR rests. In the case of India, residents are required to undergo an institutional quarantine until they receive their test results. Again, UAE citizens and diplomats are exempt from these regulations.

The UAE suspended inbound passenger entry from India on April 24 amid an unusually severe second wave of Covid-19 infections, and travel from South Africa was suspended mid-January this year. The development has brought much-needed respite to thousands of UAE residents, including hundreds of healthcare workers currently stranded, especially in India.

Dr Abdu Majeed, a doctor with Aster Hospital in Makhool, said: “I travelled to India as my brother was infected with Covid-19. I’ve been here for a month. I have taken both doses of the vaccination, and this news comes as a huge relief.”

Below are the rules for travellers coming from the three countries:

>> For passengers from India

Entry will be permitted to residents who have received two doses of UAE-approved vaccines.

All travellers are also required to present a negative Covid-19 test result taken within 48 hours before departure; UAE citizens are exempted.

Only QR coded PCR test result certificates are accepted.

All passengers must take a rapid PCR test 4 hours prior to flight departure.

All passengers must undergo a PCR test on arrival at Dubai Airport.

Passengers should undergo institutional quarantine until they receive their PCR test result, which is expected within 24 hours. UAE citizens and diplomats are exempted.

>> For passengers from South Africa

Passengers should have received two doses of a vaccine approved by UAE authorities.

All travellers are also required to present a negative Covid-19 test result taken within 48 hours before departure; UAE citizens are exempted.

All passengers must undergo a PCR test on arrival at Dubai Airport.

Transit passengers should comply with entry protocols of final destinations.

>> For passengers from Nigeria

Passengers required to present a negative Covid-19 test result taken within 48 hours before departure; UAE citizens are exempted.

They should present a negative PCR test certificate with a QR code from labs approved by the Nigerian government.

All passengers must undergo a PCR test on arrival at Dubai Airport.

Transit passengers should comply with entry protocols of final destinations.

author

Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for over ten years. For Khaleej Times, she covers NRI affairs, civil aviation, and immigration issues among other things. She completed her BA in Journalism, Economics and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008 and is currently pursuing her MA in Leadership and Innovation in Contemporary Media at the American University in Dubai. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves food, and is mom to an over-enthusiastic Labrador retriever. Tweet at her @shootsprintrite.





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