Covid-19: Entry testing norms back as Abu Dhabi ramps up safety measures

Starting December 30, vaccinated individuals have to show a green pass on Al Hosn app



File photo
File photo
by

Ashwani Kumar

Published: Tue 28 Dec 2021, 7:11 PM

Abu Dhabi has reintroduced Covid-19 testing requirements to enter the emirate as the number of new infections across the country hit a six-month high on Tuesday.

From Thursday, December 30, vaccinated individuals need to show a green pass on Al Hosn app – the official Covid-19 testing platform and unvaccinated ones require a negative PCR test result received within 96 hours to enter the emirate.

A vaccinated person must ensure a negative test result every 14 days to maintain the green status. These entry restrictions are in addition to the EDE facial scans done at the border to rapidly detect positive cases.

The Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee underlined that the rules are in line with efforts to continue enhancing precautionary measures to protect public health.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention on December 28, registered 1,846 positive cases – highest since 2,184 cases were reported on June 29.

In the past months, the number of new cases had fallen significantly in line with the remarkable progress made in the national vaccination campaign. And from September 19, Abu Dhabi dropped the testing requirement to enter the emirate but continued with the green pass system at most public places.

Meanwhile, the caseloads continued to slide. And on October 17, the number dipped below 100 for the first time in 19 months, and since October 23 remained in double digits. Additionally, by November 26, 100 per cent eligible population had received at least a single Covid-19 vaccine dose.

With such promising data, the UAE seemed to be marching on the road to recovery heading into 2022.

But at the start of this month, the first case of the Omicron variant was detected. And on December 14, the new cases hit the three-figure mark and went beyond 1,000.

Soon, Abu Dhabi brought back Covid-19 screening norms to enter the emirate in addition to the new rules implemented to host social events.

Dr Faisal Hamza Dalvi, specialist, internal medicine, VPS Healthcare, praised the local authorities for the timely announcement of additional measures.

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“This is an effective and time-tested method to prevent the spread of the virus. Ahead of the festive celebrations, the local authorities are adopting the right measures to curb the virus spread.”

Meanwhile, residents welcomed the steps initiated for safe entry and contract tracing.

Egyptian expat Moustafa Alrawi said that all community members must act responsibly to avert a crisis situation. “These restrictions are reassuring ahead of the New Year Eve celebrations. Also, we need a 48-hour PCR test to attend any events in Abu Dhabi.”

Long-time Indian resident Ramesh Selvanambi noted that the authorities have always taken proactive steps. “The Abu Dhabi Government has put its best foot forward while responding to the new spike seen in the cases. We all need to be alert and follow the guidelines issued by the health regulator and listen to what experts say.”

Dr Dalvi stressed on Covid-19 vaccination, screening and taking booster doses on time.

“Vaccination, regular PCR and following all the safety measures like wearing a mask, maintaining social distance and taking the booster shot, if applicable, are the best ways to tackle the new variants like Omicron. Such robust measures are yet another push from the government, to take the jab and for those people who have completed six months after their vaccination to take the booster shot,” he added.


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