India-Dubai travellers must get COVID-19 test 48 hours before flight

Currently, passengers are required to undergo RT-PCR 72 hours before departure

  
Travellers wear masks as they arrivw at the Dubai International Airport, after the UAE's Ministry of Health and Community Prevention confirmed the country's first case of coronavirus, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates January 29, 2020.

Travellers wear masks as they arrivw at the Dubai International Airport, after the UAE's Ministry of Health and Community Prevention confirmed the country's first case of coronavirus, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates January 29, 2020.

REUTERS/Christopher Pike

Passengers flying from India to Dubai will now have to follow revised regulations on PCR Covid-19 tests, Indian airlines announced on Monday.

Starting April 22, at 12am, all passengers travelling from India to Dubai airports must hold a valid Covid-19 test certificate issued within 48 hours from the time of collecting the sample, budget carrier Air India Express stated. A similar advisory was issued by India’s flag carrier Air India and private airline Spice Jet.

Currently, passengers are required to undergo RT-PCR 72 hours before departure.

Passengers must also ensure that the ‘date and time’ of sample collection and time of reporting (result date and result time) are accurate. “The certificate must indicate a ‘negative’ test result, described either in Arabic or English, issued from a certified lab at the original point of destination where the passenger is travelling from,” read the advisory from the airlines.

Furthermore, it is mandatory that the report includes a QR code which is linked to the original report for verification by the airline. “At arrival, the Dubai Health Authority will verify the same,” said the airlines.

At present, only India’s flag carriers and Spice Jet have issued revisions to the existing pre-departure testing policies, according to travel agents in the UAE. Other Indian airlines and UAE carriers continue to have the PCR test validity at 72 hours before departure.

The Spice Jet advisory said: “The PCR test will be valid no later than 72 hours, 48 hours in case of Dubai, with effect from April 22, 2021, before departure. The stipulated time frame for accepting the negative Covid-19 reports should start from the date of sample or swab collection, and not the issuance date of the report.”

TP Sudheesh, general manager of Deira Travel and Tourist Agency, said: “The change in timing does make travel a little more complicated for the traveller as 48 hours is too less a time in case the passenger has any kind of last-minute emergencies.”

“All passengers must carry the printed copy of their negative Covid-19 reports and the test reports must be in typed form and not hand-written. Handwritten reports will not be accepted,” Spice Jet stated.

Furthermore, all negative Covid-19 reports should have the name and contact details of the providing laboratory or the health institute. “Information should be typed preferably in block letters, so it’s clear and easily understood,” the advisory added.

 
 

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