Categories, restrictions: All the facts about UAE allowing travel amid coronavirus

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The UAE announced categories and restrictions for the residents and citizens who will be allowed to travel to some countries starting from June 23, as part of the government’s easing of coronavirus restrictions, a UAE official said in a press conference on Wednesday.

The UAE’s National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) said: “Travel to select destinations will be permitted based on a classification system. The countries that citizens and residents are allowed to travel to will be based on the countries’ practices and will be in accordance to 3 categories.”

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The UAE had previously announced mid-June that it will start allowing people to travel to some countries. Previously, the country had suspended on March 23 travel in and out of it.

Saif al-Dhaheri, NCEMA Spokesman, said that conditions and procedures will be put in place for those wishing to travel abroad in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus, and those procedures will be updated periodically based on health developments.

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The world’s countries will be divided into three categories: low risk, moderate risk and high risk. The categorized list of countries is yet to be released.

UAE citizens and residents will be allowed to travel to countries among the “low risk” category, while no one is allowed to travel to countries that are deemed “high risk.”

“A limited segment of Emirati nationals will be allowed to travel to countries designated as ‘moderate risk’ in cases of emergency, for essential medical care, to visit first-degree family members, or for military, diplomatic or official missions,” al-Dhaheri said.

He said that certain travel protocols will be implemented in the UAE under the current circumstances, which are based on several pillars, including: public health, testing, pre-registration for travel, quarantine, follow-up with travelers, in addition to raising awareness of guidelines and COVID-19 precautionary measures.

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Procedures to follow

UAE citizens and residents wishing to travel abroad must submit a request through the website of the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship and register for the 'Tawajudi' service before travel.

They must also undergo a COVID-19 test before travel and follow coronavirus travel protocols in the destination country. The result of the coronavirus test cannot be older than 48 hours prior to the date and time of the scheduled flight.

The COVID-19 test result must be presented to the authorities in UAE airports through the government’s ‘Al Hosn’ app.

Travel will not be permitted unless the coronavirus test result is negative.

People over the age of 70 years will not be allowed to travel, and people suffering from chronic diseases are advised against traveling for their own safety.

Travelers must also have valid international health insurance that lasts throughout the duration of the trip abroad and covers medical services in the country of destination.

Al-Dhaheri stressed that people must adhere to coronavirus precautionary measures in airports which include: wearing a mask or face covering, gloves, sanitizing hands regularly and practicing social distancing.

UAE travelers, whether citizens or residents, must fill out forms dictating that they will act responsibly with regards to health. The forms include pledging to go into quarantine upon return to the UAE and not to travel to other destinations than the one approved by the authorities.

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Upon return from abroad

After people return from traveling abroad they must follow a series of strict procedures and protocls which start with them being required to wear face masks at all times, presenting a specific form detailing information about their travel, a statement regarding their health status, other identification documents, and being mandated to download and activate ‘Al Hosn’ app.

All people returning to the UAE from travel abroad must submit to a PCR-19 coronavirus test in a certified medical facility in case they show any COVID-19 symptoms. They must do so within 48 hours of entering the country.

Returnees from abroad also need to self-isolate at home for 14 days, which may be shortened to 7 days in specific cases for people returning from “low risk” countries or those working in vital sectors, and only after they undergo a COVID-19 test.

In cases where returnees are unable to self-isolate at home for any reason, they must isolate themselves in a facility or a hotel room and bear the expenses of that stay.

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