Abu Dhabi: On Tuesday, Abu Dhabi announced updates to its existing preventive and precautionary regulations.
The new guidelines amended COVID-19 testing regulations, while also reducing the quarantine period in case of travel, and when coming into a person with COVID-19. They were announced by the Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee, and will come into force today, Thursday, December 24.
Here is a quick lowdown of the changes:
Validity of entry test
In order to enter the emirate, all travellers must present a negative COVID-19 test result, whether via PCR or DPI.
Earlier: The test result presented at the border must have been received by the individual within the previous 48 hours.
Now: The COVID-19 test result must have been received within 72 hours of being presented to border authorities.
Every individual entering the emirate, or returning to it after leaving, has to undertake subsequent COVID-19 testing via PCR.
Earlier: The PCR tests had to be conducted once on Day 4, and then again on Day 8. The day of entry is counted as Day 1, and the subsequent testing requirements applied for those staying in the emirate for four, and then eight, consecutive days.
Now: The PCR test has to be conducted just once on Day 6, with the day of entry counted as Day 1. The requirement applies to those staying in the emirate for six consecutive days or more.
Return from abroad
All international travellers have to adhere to a quarantine period after returning from abroad.
Earlier: The required quarantine period was set at 14 days for all travellers, with a PCR COVID-19 test to be undertaken on Day 12.
Now: The quarantine period has been reduced to 10 days, and travellers must undertake a PCR test on Day 6 for staying six or more consecutive days, and again on Day 12 if they stay in Abu Dhabi for 12 or more consecutive days.
Exemptions: Travellers from a list of ‘green’ countries are exempt from the quarantine requirement after returning from abroad. Based on the list announced on December 22, the list has 16 countries, including Australia, Brunei, China, Greece, Greenland, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Mauritius, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.
This list of ‘green’ countries will be reviewed fortnightly.
Contact with a COVID-19 patient
People who are in close contact with a COVID-19 patient have to remain in quarantine for a specified period, and be tested in order to ensure their own safety.
Earlier: The quarantine period was set at 14 days.
Now: The quarantine period has been reduced to 10 days, as long as the person undergoes a PCR test on Day 8 and receives a negative result.
The Committee has also reiterated that volunteers who are part of the Phase III COVID-19 vaccine trials in the UAE, as well as those have been vaccinated as part of the National Vaccination Programme, are exempt from all these testing and quarantine requirements in Abu Dhabi. However, their status on the Al Hosn app must include a letter E, or a golden star.