Arrivals at Dubai Airport on Sunday as first flights from India since March 19 arrive
Arrivals at Dubai Airport on Sunday as first flights from India since March 19 arrived. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan, Gulf News

Dubai: Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) clarified on Monday that COVID-19 negative PCR test is not required for all inbound passengers to Dubai, including those transiting via the emirate.

Gulf News earlier reported that the negative test result was mandatory based on a circular issued on Sunday to aircraft operators conducting flight operations to and from Dubai Airports (Dubai International Airport and Al Maktoum International Airport).

Gulf News has seen the circular and has obtained a copy of it.

The circular related to flight restrictions due to coronavirus said the aircraft operators must meet the updated conditions with immediate effect.

The real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction test, often abbreviated as PCR test, is accepted as the most accurate test for coronavirus infection.

The test is considered to be valid for 96 hours before departure from the airport of origin.

“Ensure that all passengers are in compliance with Dubai Government protocols and conditions for citizens, residents and tourists travelling into or out of Dubai airports,” the circular stated.

“Ensure that all inbound passengers (arriving or transiting) to Dubai hold a negative PCR test report (test validity 96 hours) before departure from the origin airport.”

Though the predeparture PCR test was not mandatory for all passengers when passengers were first allowed to arrive in the emirate in the last week of June, it was made applicable to passengers from ten countries as announced by Emirates airline on July 8.

The test results should be provided to the authorities in Dubai upon request, the circular stated.

Doctors Gulf News spoke to explained that the validity of the test begins from the date of giving the sample, not from the date of receiving the result, as there is no guarantee that an individual who comes up with a negative sample for swab tests, cannot catch the infection after the test.

They said the purpose of making the test mandatory again on arrival in Dubai will ensure there is only a gap of four days within which a tested passenger could contract the virus. If the passenger has been infected within this time frame, it can be detected through the test conducted on arrival in Dubai.

Operators were also asked to ensure that all passengers (tourist/visa-on-arrival) arriving in Dubai have a valid health insurance that can be used in the UAE. “It is recommended that all transit/transfer passengers through Dubai Airports have a valid health insurance.”

Airlines were also asked to ensure that all passengers fill in the health declaration form prior to departing for and from Dubai.

- Inputs from Sajila Saseendran, Senior Reporter