190122 air india express
Air India Express Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Air India Express has announced that children under 12 years flying with the airline from India to the UAE are now exempted from the mandatory COVID-19 PCR test.

The negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate is now not mandatory for children under 12 years, it stated in updated travel regulations posted on its blog.

“A valid negative COVID-19 PCR test, from a government-approved laboratory, no older than 96 hours prior to departure is required for travel back to Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. For children below 12 years, COVID-19 PCR Test is not mandatory,” the airline posted.

The airline has confirmed this to passengers who enquired about the COVID-19 test rules on Twitter as well.

“As per the recent update, it is mandatory only for passengers above 12 years of age. But please check out our blog often to know the recent updates as it may change accordingly. Thank you,” it said in a tweet in reply to a passenger on Monday morning.

Gulf News had earlier highlighted the difficulties and concerns aired by Indian parents regarding the COVID-19 test requirements for young children.

The exemption given to young children is expected to bring some relief for such parents who were concerned about taking small children to testing centres that are either far from their locations or crowded with the possibility of exposure to coronavirus.

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Regarding the requirements for tests on arrival in UAE airports, the airline stated: “When you arrive in Dubai, you must take a PCR test at the airport and remain in your residence until you receive the test result. If the test result is positive, you will be required to undergo isolation and follow the Dubai Health Authority guidelines.”

For passengers arriving in Abu Dhabi, the airline said PCR testing and temperature screening is in operation at Abu Dhabi airport.

For passengers to Sharjah, it said PCR testing is being undertaken on arrival.