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Abu Dhabi eases coronavirus restrictions from Dec 24: Everything you need to know

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Abu Dhabi will begin easing some coronavirus restrictions on entry to the emirate, welcoming back some international tourists, and updating other precautionary measures starting from December 24, the UAE's state news agency WAM reported on Tuesday.

The emirate's Crisis, Emergencies and Disasters Committee announced it has "approved a series of updated measures to preserve current health achievements and curb the spread of COVID-19, and following a thorough review of all activities."

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The emirate's media office said: "Following the successes achieved by implementing the precautionary measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 and maintaining a low rate of confirmed cases, Abu Dhabi will welcome back international tourists from 24 December 2020."

New travel precautionary measures

International travellers will be required to present a negative PCR test result received within 96 hours of their scheduled departure and take a second PCR test upon entering Abu Dhabi.

"Travellers from ‘green’ countries will be allowed into the emirate when they receive a negative test result, while travellers from other countries must self-isolate for 10 days. Country classifications will be reviewed every two weeks," the media office said.

"All travellers must take a PCR test on day six of entry into Abu Dhabi for those staying for six consecutive days or more, and on day 12 for those staying for 12 consecutive days or more."

The 'Green' countries list includes: Australia, Brunei, China, Greece, Greenland, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Mauritius, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Vietnam.

Updated measures inside Abu Dhabi

The updated measures include increasing the operational capacity of "economic, tourism and entertainment activities" which include shopping and entertainment centres, restaurants and nurseries.

The validity of a negative PCR or DPI test required to enter the emirate has been extended to 72 hours from 48. And the tests required on days 4 and 8 from entry have been replaced with one test to be conducted on day 6 from entering the emirate for people staying 6 or more consecutive days, WAM reported.

Abu Dhabi also updated its procedures for international travellers, both residents and tourists.

"These procedures include exempting travellers from ‘green’ countries from quarantine and reducing quarantine period for travellers coming from other countries to 10 days only. All travellers will need to undertake a PCR test on day 6 if they are staying 6 or more consecutive days, as well as on day 12 if they are staying 12 or more consecutive days. Country classifications will be reviewed fortnightly," WAM reported.

The quarantine period for those who have been in contact with postive COVID-19 cases has been reduced to 10 days only, given that individuals take a PCR test on day 8 and receive a negative result.

As for people who took part in the national vaccination program and in phase III of vaccine clinical trials, the ones who have "active icons on Alhosn app (golden star or letter E)" will be exempted from quarantine requirements when returning from abroad or if they come in contact with a positive case.

"The committee approved periodic screening programmes for the residents of industrial zones and communities with high population density and the employees of commercial activities in Abu Dhabi emirate. It also approved increasing the capacity of the SEHA testing centres located outside of Abu Dhabi emirate and closing testing centres at entry points," WAM reported.

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