Monday, September 20, 2021

UAE changes COVID-19 policy for Pakistani travellers

UAE changes COVID-19 policy for Pakistani travellers

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UAE changes COVID-19 policy for Pakistani travellers
  • The UAE has once again changed its policy for flights from Pakistan.
  • Thousands of Pakistani travellers are stranded at airports due to the non-availability of PCR testing facilities at airports.
  • Two flights left for the UAE from Karachi after offloading 70 Pakistani passengers on August 6. 

KARACHI: The United Arab Emirates has once again changed its policy for Pakistani travellers, making it compulsory for them to get a rapid PCR test done four hours before travelling. Due to the absence of testing facilities at the airports, however, thousands of travellers wishing to return to the UAE have been stranded.

According to Khaleej Times, airlines in Pakistan are currently negotiating with healthcare service providers in the country to arrange for rapid PCR testing facilities at airports so that passengers travelling to the UAE do not face problems.

On August 6, two flights departed from Karachi to Dubai but the airlines offloaded 70 passengers due to the non-fulfilment of the PCR test condition.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) sought the government to step in to request the UAE to accept antigen tests results instead of rapid PCR tests.

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“While we may ensure that passengers from Pakistan hold a valid negative PCR test conducted 48 hours prior to the commencement of travel to Dubai, we cannot provide a rapid PCR test facility to departing passengers to Dubai as it is currently unavailable in Pakistan,” said the CAA statement signed by Suleman Ghouri, assistant director of air transport.

“However, in lieu, Dubai terminating passengers from Pakistan may be tested at our airports using rapid antigen testing conducted within six hours prior to departure of flight for Dubai and any subsequent PCR testing may be undertaken upon arrival in Dubai.”

The CAA’s official spokesperson Saad bin Ayub also said in another press release, “A significant number of Pakistani passengers have been denied travel from Pakistan to Dubai.”

“Considering the importance of the travel requirement of our passengers between Pakistan and Dubai, it is submitted that the above-stated matter may be taken up with the relevant UAE Authorities on priority, please and the UAE Authorities may be urged to reconsider their policy on inbound passengers from Pakistan to Dubai,” said the CAA spokesperson. 

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