UAE demand for RT-PCR test hours before take-off hampers travel plans of Keralites

UAE demand for RT-PCR test hours before take-off hamper travel plans of Keralites

Dubai: Several hurdles await Indians planning to travel to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which has partially lifted the entry ban on foreign residents.

Those travelling to the UAE are required to get a COVID-negative certificate of an RT-PCR test conducted four hours before the trip. The Emirates has approved the Covishield vaccine being administered in India.

Conducting the test four hours before travel has become a major hurdle since it requires laboratory facilities at the airport or nearby. None of the airports in Kerala has such a facility.

Meanwhile, the government has initiated talks to set up TrueNat systems at the airports to provide the result within an hour. The government is trying to get the interim approval of agencies, including the Indian Council for Medical Research, required for setting up TrueNat systems.

Other issues

Though the entry ban has been partially lifted, confusion prevails over the travel of children, whose vaccination has not yet begun. Similarly, there is a lack of clarity on the return of those whose visa period has expired during their recent stay in Kerala for more than six months.

There is also confusion over the return of those issued by other Emirates. The Indian Ambassador to the UAE, Pavan Kapoor, told Manorama that he had raised the issue with the authorities concerned and is expecting a favourable response.

The UAE has mandated all overseas passengers reaching Dubai to remain in institutional quarantine until they receive their test results. However, it is not clear whether the government will meet their quarantine expenses. Those having resident visas have been offered free quarantine facilities.

Meanwhile, airlines have opened bookings on flights to the UAE from Wednesday (June 23). The diaspora is hoping that the hurdles in travel will be removed.

In a separate development, the Dubai Health Authority clarified that the Covishield vaccine being administered in India and AstraZeneca are one.

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