UAE drops PCR test mandate for fully vaccinated travelers
It is going to be much more convenient for fully vaccinated travelers to visit the United Arab Emirates now that it has become the latest nation to pull back its pandemic entry restrictions.
As of Feb. 26, the UAE will no longer require PCR tests for visitors. The country posted the new relaxed guidelines on the National Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA) website on Friday. The new policy says vaccinated passengers only need to show a vaccine certificate with an approved QR code.
Unvaccinated travelers can enter the UAE, but they "have to present an approved negative PCR test result received within 48 hours of departure or a QR code-accompanied certificate of recovery from a COVID-19 infection obtained within one month from the date of travel."
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The new guidelines are said to be part of the UAE's ongoing efforts "to achieve sustainable recovery while maintaining public health and safety against the background of the continuation of various activities and return to normalcy nationwide."
Along those lines, authorities also approved the return of pre-pandemic time intervals between prayer calls and the iqamah, the call for worshippers to pray. Noble Qur’an books can return to mosques in a limited number, with the stipulation that they are sterilized after each prayer. The current mandated distance of one meter (three feet) between worshippers in mosques and places of worship will remain in place.
All sports activities may resume as well, and physical distancing requirements in public places and restaurants are also being lifted. Masks remain mandatory in public indoor spaces, but optional outdoors. The UAE is also doing away with quarantine requirements for people who have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19. The person exposed must take a PCR test daily for five straight days.
In addition, the UAE capital city, Abu Dhabi, has dropped its quarantine mandate for all international travelers regardless of vaccination status. Fully vaccinated visitors have been able to bypass the self-isolation requirement since last September. Because it has dropped the quarantine, Abu Dhabi is also eliminating its green list system, which allowed citizens of certain countries to avoid quarantine upon arrival.
The decision to ease its pandemic restrictions comes as COVID cases continue to drop and vaccination rates increase. The latest stats on the NCEMA website indicate 95% of UAE citizens are fully vaccinated.