Ghantoot rapid testing facility on Dubai-Abu Dhabi border Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: From Thursday onwards, a change in Abu Dhabi Emirate entry regulations will require people to furnish a negative COVID-19 PCR-test with a six-day validity, along with a negative laser-based or DPI test.

Alternatively, commuters can present a negative result on a PCR-test with 48-hour validity in order to gain entry.

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The change in regulations, which will come into force from Thursday, August 27, was announced by the Abu Dhabi Media Office.

“The Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee, in cooperation with the Department of Health, approves two tests to enter the emirate effective 27 August 2020, enhancing precautionary measures to curb the spread of COVID-19,” the announcement said.

Entry restrictions

Abu Dhabi has had entry restrictions in place since May as a measure to limit the spread of COVID-19. Initially, travellers had to present negative PCR-tests to gain entry.

DPI testing, which provides results within minutes, and costs less than the Dh370 PCR-test, was introduced as a means of rapid testing for those aged 12 years and older. The Dh50 test is now available at five centres in Abu Dhabi Emirate, and six centres outside the emirate.

Until Thursday, a negative DPI test result was sufficient to gain entry for those aged 12 years and older. But the change in regulation also requires a supporting PCR-test.

Regulation explained

Speaking to Gulf News, Ahmed Al Riyami, supervisor at the Ghantoot DPI testing centre, clarified the new regulation.

Option 1: “You can provide a PCR-test with 48-hour validity, and you will be allowed to enter,” Al Riyami said.

Option 2: “Otherwise, if you have a negative PCR-test taken within 6 days, you can enter the tent for DPI testing. Once you are also negative on the DPI test, you can proceed to Abu Dhabi,” the official said.

“If you get a positive on the DPI test, you will have to do the PCR-test again at an additional cost of Dh320. If this is negative, you can enter Abu Dhabi. If this is positive, you will not be allowed to enter,” he added.

Once the procedures begin to be implemented from Thursday, the process will become clearer for all, Al Riyami said.

Under the new regulation, the same kind of test also cannot be taken twice in a row within a six-day period, and violations will be subject to penalties and fines, as outlined by the Attorney General.

In practice

So if you take a PCR-test and get a negative result, you can directly enter Abu Dhabi by presenting the test at the border for the next 48 hours.

After this point, for up to the next four days, you can also take a DPI test at the border, and test negative, in order to gain entry.

However, without a PCR-test result with six-day validity, it will not be possible for commuters to enter the emirate.