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One is required to present a negative COVID-19 test result whenever one is entering Abu Dhabi, whether travelling back from within the UAE or returning from abroad. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News Archives

Abu Dhabi: From today (February 1) onwards, a set of new COVID-19 screening protocol is being implemented for entry into Abu Dhabi. The latest guidelines were issued by Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee on January 30. These new guidelines change the validity — for the purposes of entry into Abu Dhabi — of the various COVID-19 tests. The validity of the test results has been reduced and the committee said that through this, it aimed to enhance precautionary measures to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Here is all you need to know about what tests are accepted, how long the test results are valid, the exemptions for those who have received COVID-19 vaccines, and guidelines for international travel.

Travel within UAE:

When do I need to present a negative COVID-19 test result for Abu Dhabi entry?

You will have to present a negative COVID-19 test result whenever you enter Abu Dhabi, whether you are travelling back from within the UAE or returning from abroad.

What type of tests are valid for Abu Dhabi entry?

Two types of tests are valid — the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test and the DPI (diffractive phase interferometry) test. However, the validity and follow-up testing schedules differ for each.

What are the testing regulations if I take a PCR test for entry?

You are allowed to enter Abu Dhabi with a negative PCR test result within 48 hours of receiving it.

You must also take follow-up PCR tests on Day 4, if you stay in Abu Dhabi for four days or more, and on Day 8, if you stay for eight days or more. Your day of entry is counted as Day 1.

What are the testing regulations if I take a PCR test for entry?

You are allowed to enter Abu Dhabi with a negative PCR test result within 24 hours of receiving it. You must also take follow-up PCR tests on Day 3, if you stay in Abu Dhabi for 48 hours or more, and on Day 7, if you stay for eight days or more. Your day of entry is counted as Day 1.

Can I use a negative test result for two consecutive times?

A PCR test result can be used to enter Abu Dhabi multiple times, so long as it has been received in the last 48 hours. A DPI test result cannot be used to enter Abu Dhabi multiple times.

What is the cost of each type of COVID-19 test?

PCR tests are available for Dh85 per person at centres run by Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha). The test is also available at private health-care facility, but prices may differ. DPI tests cost Dh50 per person at designated centres.

Do children have to present negative COVID-19 tests when entering Abu Dhabi emirate?

Negative test results are required for all individuals aged 12 years or older. Younger children are exempted.

What happens if I fail to take the follow-up COVID-19 tests?

You will be liable for fines.

Is anyone exempt from the COVID-19 testing requirements when entering Abu Dhabi?

On your Alhosn app, if you received the COVID-19 vaccine as part of the national vaccination programme, the letter ‘E’ will show after you take a PCR test, 28 days after your second dose of the vaccine. If you received the vaccine as a COVID-19 vaccine trial volunteer, your Alhosn app will show a golden star after you have completed all your trial-related doses and medical checks, and have taken a PCR test. As long as this symbol appears on your app, you will qualify for the testing exemptions.

Children younger than 12 years are also exempt.

Can I lose access to the exemptions?

All vaccine recipients must continue to undertake COVID-19 PCR tests every seven days. As long as they do so and remain negative for COVID-19, the letter ‘E’ or a golden star will continue to show up on the Alhosn app, and they will be eligible for the special travel exemptions.

Vaccinated individuals:

Is there a difference between a vaccine recipient and a person who has participated in the vaccine trials in the UAE?

The main difference is that the identification marker for vaccine trial participants on the Alhosn app is a golden star, whereas those who get the vaccine as part of the vaccination programme are identified by the letter ‘E’. Vaccine trial participants may have to undergo medical checks on a different schedule compared to others who receive the vaccine.

Do I need to present a negative COVID-19 test result for entering Abu Dhabi after returning from abroad?

Yes, you will have to take a PCR test before your ravel and also upon arrival.

Are there follow-up tests to be done after returning to Abu Dhabi from abroad?

Yes.

If you have returned from a ‘green’ country, region or territory, you have to take another PCR test on Day 6. If you have returned from a country, region or territory that is not on the ‘green’ list, you have to take a follow-up PCR test on Day 8. The list of ‘green’ countries, regions and territories is periodically updated, with the latest version updated on January 25.

Will I have to quarantine after returning from abroad?

Depends on where you returned from. If you have returned from a ‘green’ country, region or territory, you do not have to quarantine yourself. If you have returned from a country, region or territory that is not on the ‘green’ list, then you will have to remain in quarantine for ten days.

What should I do if I have come in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19?

You must remain in quarantine for five days, and take a PCR test on Day 4. If the result is negative, you can end your quarantine.

When returning to Abu Dhabi from travel within the UAE, what benefits do I have as a vaccine recipient?

You are authorised to use all emergency vehicle lanes for a smooth journey when entering Abu Dhabi.

If I want to travel out of the UAE, do I need to take a PCR COVID-19 test first?

Yes.

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Do I have to undergo periodic COVID-19 testing when in the UAE?

Vaccine trial volunteers will have to undertake tests required for the trial. For others who receive the vaccine, periodic COVID-19 testing is not required, unless required by official agencies, or to activate their vaccinated status on the Alhosn app.

How do I maintain my active status on Alhosn to avail exemptions when entering Abu Dhabi from within the UAE?

You will need to undergo a PCR test every seven days.