Coronavirus: Dubai updates COVID-19 test requirement for Gulf countries

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Passengers traveling to Dubai from Gulf countries including Saudi Arabia are no longer required to take a COVID-19 test prior to flight departure, Dubai’s Emirates airline said this week in an update to its guidelines.

Passengers arriving in Dubai from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman can instead “opt to do the test on arrival at Dubai International Airport,” Emirates said in a statement on its website.

However, a negative COVID-19 test result 96 hours before arrival is still required for visitors coming to Dubai from Oman arriving by car through the Hatta border crossing.

Travelers from other countries including the United States and France are required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result, valid for 96 hours from the date of the test before departure. The UK and Germany are exceptions to this rule.

Dubai has eased coronavirus preventative measures over the last month, including allowing limited crowds at sports events and announcing face mask exemptions for people with certain medical conditions.

Meanwhile, neighboring emirate Abu Dhabi has tightened its COVID-19 test requirements.

Last month, Abu Dhabi announced UAE citizens and residents entering the emirate and staying for more than eight days must have three COVID-19 tests.

A COVID-19 test must be taken before entering Abu Dhabi and entry must be within 48 hours of receiving the negative test result, according to Abu Dhabi Media Office.

If planning to stay in Abu Dhabi for four or more consecutive days, a PCR test is mandatory on the fourth day of the visit.

If visiting Abu Dhabi for more than eight days, a second PCR test is required on the eighth day of the visit.

Volunteers in the UAE’s COVID-19 vaccine trials and those taking the vaccine under the emergency use program are exempt from these measures, according to the media office.

On Monday, the UAE’s number of active coronavirus cases reached its highest ever – 17,272 – following daily increases of over 1,000 cases since September.

With a population of over 9 million, the UAE has conducted over 17.5 million tests since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

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