Revised travel protocol in UAE: huge relief for expatriates stranded in Kerala

Emirates Airline planes at the Dubai International Airport in UAE. As part of the COVID-19 preventive measures, passengers from India were banned from April 24.   | Photo Credit: REUTERS

The revised travel protocol notified by United Arab Emirates (UAE) for inbound passengers from India has come as a big relief for hundreds of visa-holding Non Resident Indians (NRIs) stranded back home in Kerala.

Last week, the UAE authorities announced a revision in procedures for travellers coming from India, South Africa and Nigeria allowing entry to residents who have received two doses of approved vaccines. The rules issued by the Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management in Dubai will come from effect from Wednesday.

As part of COVID-19 preventive measures, passengers from India were banned from entering the country from April 24.

Initially, the General Civil Aviation Authority allowed UAE citizens, diplomats, official delegations, golden residency visa-holders and flights of businessmen exemption from the entry restrictions on inbound passengers onboard India-UAE flights. Later, relaxations were given to those with investment visa and those undergoing quarantine after arrival via chartered flights.

But now, resident visa holders desperate to fly back to their jobs and join their families in the UAE can do so provided they carry RT-PCR test reports from approved laboratories prior to their travel. Besides, all passengers must undergo a PCR test on arrival at the airport and should follow institutional quarantine until they receive their test result that is expected within 24 hours.

Four vaccines

As of now, the UAE is administering four vaccines — Sinopharm, Pfizer-BioNTech, Sputnik V and Oxford-AstraZeneca — against the COVID-19 infection. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine being administered in India under the brand name Covishield is a UAE-approved one.

However, sources said that the notification allowing the entry of Indians was unclear about the Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, which many NRIs have already taken two doses of. Likewise, uncertainty prevails for those who had taken the first dose of the Chinese vaccine or Pfizer BioNTech- jabs while they were in the UAE, the sources said.

Perhaps, the ambiguity would be cleared in the coming days as thousands of expatriates were planning to return to their Gulf destinations since the COVID-19-induced flight restrictions for the past two months, the sources said.

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Printable version | Jul 31, 2021 9:30:42 AM |

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