Indian expats in the UAE are hailing the move where fully vaccinated passengers in the country do not need to take a Covid PCR test while travelling to India.
Earlier, only passengers who held a vaccination certificate issued in India were eligible for the PCR test exemption.
The UAE has been added to India’s list of countries/regions from where vaccination schedule completion certificate is recognised. Fully vaccinated passengers flying to the UAE also don’t need a pre-travel PCR test
UAE resident and senior biomedical engineer, Tinku K Markose, says, “It's a well-considered decision to relax mandatory pre-travel PCR requirements. I had travelled to India during the pandemic, and the PCR requirement made me prepare well in advance to meet the flying requirements. Ensuring the timely release of the report, carrying a printout, all have been cumbersome tasks for the frequent fliers. Even after the recent relaxation by the airlines, those vaccinated from the UAE had to carry a negative PCR report for the travel. Some of my friends who travelled to India past weeks had undergone the testing and carried the report to avoid complications at the airport. As we are entering into the endemic stage, the decision will help us to have hassle-free travel. After India resuming international flights ending the air bubbles with the countries, including the UAE, this is another step in the right direction, encouraging travel in post-pandemic times.”
Passengers have to upload their vaccination certificates on the Air Suvidha portal. Those who have not been vaccinated, or don’t have a certificate issued from the list of recognised countries, have to take a PCR test within 72 hours of their flight. Children aged under 5 years are exempted from the PCR tests.
Praising this decision, Kabir Malkani- Entrepreneur in the UAE opined, “It’s a very welcoming decision, since Covid has globally reduced significantly. Since a larger population both in India and UAE are now fully vaccinated, the chances of spreading and getting infected with Covid are considerably less, though the Omicron variant seems to be infecting children quite adversely. Travel will get expedited as number of health checks will reduce and duration of time spent at airport will come back to the regular hours and airports will be less burdened with exceptionally long queues. But at the end of the day, the absence of PCR tests will be a bit of a concern.”
Dubai resident Arijit Nandi said, “I welcome this move wholeheartedly. With the Covid case load coming down significantly across countries especially in India and the UAE, I feel that doing away with the PCR requirement is the right thing to do. For a family to travel back to India, it turned out to be expensive, apart from the inconvenience factor of having to go to a health care center to get the test done and then later taking print outs of the same, just a few hours before travel. For a family of four or five the expenditure added up to a big sum.”
Bilal Saeed, a resident of Deira has planned his vacation in mid-April to his hometown in the Southern Indian State of Karnataka. “We were so happy to learn about this and it will be easy for me to plan my vacation like pre pandemic times,” said Saeed.
Saeed, who lives with his wife and two children said, that taking children to these testing centres is a difficult task. “They don’t like the nasal or the throat swab. Besides, it takes a lot of planning to get the PCR tests done, like booking an appointment or looking for a drive-thru, and of course the waiting time. Travelling to India will now become smooth,” added Saeed.
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