Saturday, May 15, 2021

UAE: Authorities in Dubai ban travelers from South Africa as of Jan. 23 following discovery of COVID-19 variant /update 55


Authorities in the Dubai Emirate announced that they will ban travelers from South Africa as of Jan. 23. The announcement comes amid a series of flight restrictions as part of efforts to combat the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and its new variants. Officials will also prohibit travelers who have been in or transited South Africa within 10 days of departure to Dubai. Travelers who are Dubai residents must acquire permission from the government before their trip.

Authorities previously updated domestic entry requirements for Abu Dhabi Emirate Jan. 17. Emirati citizens and residents in the country can enter Abu Dhabi Emirate within 48 hours of receiving a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or diffractive phase interferometry (DPI) test result, instead of the previous rule of 72 hours. There is a mandatory PCR test on the fourth day of entry for those who stay for four days or more, and on the eighth day for those staying eight days or more.

International tourists can enter the Abu Dhabi Emirate. Under the measures, international travelers from “green” countries must present a negative (PCR) test result received within 96 hours of their departure for the UAE. The list of “green” countries is on the UAE Government website. Upon entering the emirate, travelers will undergo a PCR test. With two negative results, international travelers will not have to quarantine for 10 days. After arrival, travelers from green countries will need to take a third PCR test on day six for those staying for six days or more, and a fourth test on day 12 for those staying for 12 days or more. Country classifications are subject to review every two weeks.

For visitors entering the emirate from all other countries, procedures include the following: depending on where a person is traveling from, a PCR test must be carried out between 48, 72, or 96 hours ahead of departure. Travelers will undergo a PCR test on arrival at the emirate. An additional PCR test will be required six days after arrival; another PCR test will be required 12 days after arrival for travelers staying for 12 days or more. Travelers will have to wear an electronic wristband throughout their 10-day quarantine. If a traveler receives a negative result 10 days after arrival in Abu Dhabi, authorities will remove the electronic wristband.

Other measures in effect in the UAE include:

  • Upon arrival at all airports in the UAE, stringent entry restrictions are enforced and may include a PCR test on arrival, a health declaration form, obtaining health insurance with COVID-19 coverage, a mandatory quarantine period for at least 14 days, and follow-up testing before the completion of quarantine.

  • Dubai Emirate reduced the quarantine period for some coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients and individuals who came into contact with confirmed patients from 14 days to 10 days, Jan. 5. The shortened quarantine period applies to COVID-19 patients who are asymptomatic after testing positive and patients with mild cases who fully recover from their symptoms without the help of fever-reducing medications. Individuals who come into close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient but did not develop any symptoms also qualify for the shortened quarantine period. Patients with moderate, severe, or critical cases may only be discharged after testing negative for COVID-19 two consecutive times at least 24 hours apart; these individuals must have been fever-free for more than three days and are required to self-isolate for a period of seven days after discharge.

  • All travelers to the UAE must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result within 96 hours before their departure. Residents returning to Dubai still require approval before traveling. Those returning to other parts of the UAE no longer need approval.

  • If departing from Abu Dhabi to the EU or UK, travelers will need to have a negative PCR test result taken within 96 hours prior to their departure.

  • Arrivals in Abu Dhabi from countries that authorities consider high risk are likely to be required to quarantine for at least 14 days. These include but are not limited to Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Chile. Additional high-risk countries can be found on the UAE Government website.

Authorities could reimpose, extend, further ease, or otherwise amend any restrictions with little-to-no notice depending on disease activity over the coming weeks.


Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


Federal Authority for Identity and CitizenshipWorld Health OrganizationGeneral Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs DubaiAbu Dhabi AirportDubai AirportAl Hosn AppUAE Government list of high risk countriesList of Accredited COVID-19 Testing LabsAbu Dhabi ‘Green List’

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