Stock Dubai airport terminal 2
Dubai Airport Terminal 2. Picture used for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Antonin Kelian Kallouche/Gulf News

Dubai: From January 31, updated guidelines will be implemented in Dubai in line with the UAE’s efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19. The announcements were made over the past week and will come into effect from January 31. Here is all you need to know about the new travel guidelines as well as the availability of the Sinopharm vaccine for certain categories.

Travel protocols updated

Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management announced updates to travel protocols effective from Sunday, January 31

Arrivals - PCR test for UAE citizens

UAE citizens will be required to do a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test only on arrival in Dubai, regardless of the country they are coming from.

Arrivals - Pre-travel PCR test required

UAE residents, GCC citizens, and visitors travelling to Dubai will need to do a pre-travel PCR test, irrespective of the country they are coming from.

Arrivals from some countries – based on the COVID-19 situation – may be required to undergo an additional test on landing in Dubai.

How long is the pre-travel PCR test valid for?

The validity period of PCR tests has been reduced from 96 hours to 72 hours. So, depending on your itinerary, you will need to get a PCR test done within three days of your expected time of departure.

Departures - protocols for travellers departing from Dubai

A Rapid PCR or Rapid Antigen test will be available at the airport to travelers departing from Dubai if their destination country requires it.

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COVID-19 precautionary measures

Along with the new protocols, the earlier precautions to adhere to social distancing and always wear a mask when outdoors will continue to be in effect, with authorities monitoring a strict adherence to the preventative measures.

On January 28, Dubai Police announced that it had issued 443 fines for not wearing a mask and 1,569 warnings, along with finding 17 gatherings in violation of the precautionary measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, while assessing five malls across Dubai during the month of January 2021.

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Fines you need to be aware of
The list of fines, issued by the UAE Attorney-General Decision No. 38 of 2020 and amended by Decision No. 58 of 2020, includes the following violations:
Not wearing a medical face mask, fabric mask, or veil when visiting an indoor public place, shopping mall and in public transport. Fine: Dh3,000
Violations of restrictions of gatherings, meetings and private and public celebrations in public places, private farms or homes. Fine: Dh10,000 for those who invite or organise gatherings. Dh5,000 for each of the participants.

Sinopharm vaccine available for senior citizens and Emiratis

The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) also announced that it will begin providing the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine to Emirati citizens and Dubai residents who are aged 60 and above, starting January 31, 2021.

The Sinopharm vaccine will be available at Nad Al Hamr Health Centre, Al Twar Health Centre and Al Mankhool Health Centre.

In the first phase of the launch of the vaccine, the DHA’s Contact Centre will reach out to those who already have pre-registered for vaccination. For more information, you can call 800 342.

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The Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine will be available to other segments of the population in future phases.