Authorities in Dubai, United Arab Emirates have announced a revision in procedures for travellers coming from the Federal Republic of Nigeria, India and South Africa 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.
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 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.