By Favour Nnabugwu
The General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA). a new safety decision circular issued on Sunday announced that Inbound passenger travel from a total of 16 countries to the UAE will remain suspended until further notice.
Among the countries covered by the advisory are Nigeria, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Indonesia, Liberia, Namibia, Nepal, Pakistan, Uganda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Zambia.
The authority has maintained status quo on previously issued travel restrictions.
“The current development on the Covid- 19 pandemic leads the UAE to impose new flight and passengers’ restrictions. The UAE Ggovernment is closely monitoring the situation and will provide further updates and instructions as necessary,” it said.
The GCAA said the circular had been issued to ‘harmonise flight and passengers’ restrictions among all above countries’.
The authority has also barred all UAE nationals, with the exception of diplomats and those suffering from medical emergencies from travelling to these countries as well.
All other previously stated travel protocols — including allowing entry only to UAE citizens, diplomats, golden and silver residency visa holders — will remain in place. Private charter jet regulations still hold, with no more than eight passengers allowed to travel per flight, said the GCAA.
Inbound travel from South Asian countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka have been suspended since April this year. Thousands of expatriates stranded in these countries have been desperately waiting to return to their jobs and families. Many are attempting to travel into the UAE by undergoing quarantine in a third country for 14 days.
Besides clarifying the inbound travel suspension, the GCAA circular also spelt out protocols for Emirati passengers who test positive for Covid or have come in close contact with a patient.
“Confirmed Covid-19 patients or those who have come in close contact with Covid-19 patients should generally remain in place and not travel until they meet the criteria for discontinuing isolation or quarantine period based on national protocol of the country they are in,” stated the circular.
“This includes UAE national passengers who wish to return home or those planning to travel to other countries.”