UAE tightens COVID-19 rules for passenger, charter flights from India, Pakistan

Tracking devices mandatory for incoming passengers arriving in Sharjah, RAK

  
Passengers walk at Dubai International Airport as Emirates airline resumed limited outbound passenger flights amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Dubai, UAE April 27, 2020.

Passengers walk at Dubai International Airport as Emirates airline resumed limited outbound passenger flights amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Dubai, UAE April 27, 2020.

REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah
 

UAE - The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GCAA) issued a fresh list of safety protocols for passenger and private business charter fights arrival from countries which are currently facing incoming travellers’ suspension.

Measures include mandatory tracking devices for passengers, including golden and silver visa holders said a new safety decision circular issued by the authority. The stringent regulations apply to all aircraft operators conducting flights from and to the UAE and the following countries – Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Uganda, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Zambia.

The circular, a copy of which Khaleej Times has seen, said, “The current development on the Covid-19 pandemic leads the UAE to impose new flight and passengers’ restrictions. The UAE government is closely monitoring the situation and will provide further updates and instructions as necessary.” An official with GCAA also confirmed to Khaleej Times that the circular has been issued by the civil aviation authority. It is said that passengers need to wear the device for at least ten days.

Wristband tracking devices were made mandatory for all international incoming passengers while they complete a mandatory 14-day home quarantine in Abu Dhabi in September last year. However, charter flight operators and travel agencies operating in this sector said the devices were given to incoming passengers arriving in Ras Al Khaimah, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah.

Raheesh Babu, the group COO of Musafir.com, an internet travel agency said passengers landing in Dubai had to adhere to ten-day mandatory quarantine and undergo PCR tests on the first, fourth, and eighth day of their arrival. “As far as we know, none of our passengers who arrived in Dubai were given tracking devices. However, passengers who arrived in RAK and Sharjah were asked to wear the wristband,” said Babu.

He added, “A majority of our customers are from the sub-continent. Since the suspension was announced on April 24, we’ve had approximately 800 businesspersons and families travel to UAE with us.”

The circular said passengers are subject to the required public health protocol upon arrival and any Naturalization and Residency department conditions, they must wear a monitoring and tracking device, comply with a ten-day quarantine period; and complete a PCR test upon arrival followed by two other PCR tests on the fourth and eighth day of their quarantine period.

The rules are also applicable to crew members operating from countries mentioned in the safety decision. Additionally, passengers are to immediately quarantine in a hotel during the whole transit period, and their movement is limited to the required movement between the hotel and the airport without contacting persons of the UAE community, said the circular.

Babu also stated that the approvals process from GCAA have been made extremely stringent to ensure Covid-19 safety. The circular also stated all arrivals are subject to the Immigration conditions in the UAE and the approval of the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCMEA) must be obtained for unscheduled and charter flights.

“NCEMA shall be notified at least 5 days before the flight,” said the circular.

 
 

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