Covid-19: UAE suspends entry of travellers from seven countries

The new travel suspension will come into effect from November 29

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Passengers wait at OR Tambo's airport in Johannesburg, South Africa on Friday. — AP
Passengers wait at OR Tambo's airport in Johannesburg, South Africa on Friday. — AP

Published: Fri 26 Nov 2021, 10:43 PM

Last updated: Sun 28 Nov 2021, 10:48 AM

The UAE on Friday announced suspension of entry of travellers from seven African countries in view of a new Covid-19 variant.

The General Civil Aviation Authority and the National Authority for Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management announced the suspension of entry for travellers from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mozambique on all flights, as well as transit passengers arriving from them. The travel suspension will be effective from November 29.

This includes suspending the entry of travellers who were in these countries during a period of 14 days before coming to the UAE. However, flights will be allowed to transport passengers from the UAE to these countries.

It will also allow the transfer of excluded groups which include official delegations and UAE citizens, diplomatic missions approved between the UAE and these countries and holders of golden visa.

The excluded groups will be obligated to take preventive measures, which include a PCR examination within 48 hours and a rapid examination (Rapid-PCR) at the airport within six hours from the time of departure, in addition to a PCR examination at the airport upon arrival. It also requires UAE citizens, diplomats and golden visa holders to adhere to a 10-day quarantine and to conduct a PCR test on the ninth day of entering the country.


The General Authority of Civil Aviation confirmed that travellers from these countries who come to the UAE through other countries require to have a period of stay in those countries of not less than 14 days in order to be allowed to enter the country.

It also prevents UAE nationals from traveling to South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mozambique, with the exception of official state delegations, emergency medical cases, and study missions.

The authority called on all passengers affected by the decision to follow up and communicate with the airlines to modify and schedule their flights.

Earlier, UAE carriers Emirates and Etihad announced they would suspend flights from seven African countries, including South Africa where the latest variant of the coronavirus is believed to have originated.

Emirates' flights from the South African cities of Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban to Dubai would be suspended from November 29. Etihad will restrict travel from Johannesburg from November 30.

This follows Europe halting flight operations from southern Africa. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain also barred flights from these countries early Friday.

The WHO, meanwhile has classified this as a variant of concern and named it Omicron.

Emirates' decision to suspend flights to South African countries follows the directives of the Dubai Covid-19 Control and Command Center.

Etihad said it is ""closely working with guests to inform them of the changes to their iterinaries," according to a statement.

The countries from where flights would be suspended are: South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Mozambique and Eswatini.

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