Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 23 September 2020

CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus: All UAE airports to accept Covid-19 tests from any reputable overseas lab

Previously, travellers were required to take a test in a network of UAE-recognised facilities

Residents returning to the UAE can now visit any government-approved lab to get tested for Covid-19. Victor Besa / The National
Residents returning to the UAE can now visit any government-approved lab to get tested for Covid-19. Victor Besa / The National

Passengers travelling to the UAE can now undergo pre-flight testing at any reputable clinic overseas.

Federal crisis authority Ncema said any facility approved by the government of that country could carry out a Covid-19 test for travellers.

All residents, tourists and citizens must be tested within 96 hours of travelling to the UAE and present their negative report to airline check-in desk staff.

Previously, travellers were required to take a test in a network of UAE-recognised clinics affiliated with Pure Health, a major Gulf testing lab, which meant some people had to travel hundreds of kilometres.

Ncema and the The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) said it would "expand the approval of the results of medical examinations to include all accredited laboratories by governments in countries around the world".

“The United Arab Emirates welcomes the return of all residents who are currently residing abroad, while adhering to the Emirates’ decision on pre-examination before entering the country,” added a statement on Wam.

Under the original requirements, passengers would often have to travel large distances to reach one of the Pure Health-accredited labs.

In the UK, there were only four clinics available for a PCR test: two in London, one outside Manchester and another in Bristol, while in Italy there were none in the south of the country.

Prior to the federal decision, Dubai had allowed airlines to accept tests from National Health Service hospitals and other reputable facilities.

Ncema reiterated that all travellers to the six emirates, excluding Dubai, must register on the website of the ICA immigration authority before they fly, to ensure they do not have problems returning.

Dubai requires its residents to apply to its GDRFA immigration service to return to the country.

All travellers must present a negative test result to the airline they are flying with “to ensure the health and safety of all travellers coming to the country”.

Children under the age of 12 or with moderate to severe disabilities are exempt from PCR testing.

A long list of testing facilities, mostly government run, was added to the Emirates online information page for travellers to Dubai.

Passengers flying in from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh can only visit the UAE if they have a negative Covid-19 test certificate from a facility approved by Pure Health, a government-approved lab operator.

New arrivals into the country may also be asked to take a second PCR test at the airport and must remain at a specified residence until results are known.

Only then will tourists or returning residents be allowed to leave quarantine in Dubai, if the test is negative. A 14-day quarantine is mandatory elsewhere in the UAE, regardless of the result.

Former Covid hospital turns focus to travel testing - in pictures

Updated: August 9, 2020 12:04 PM

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