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Emirates and Etihad Airways Once Again Allowed to Fly India and Pakistan Transit Passengers

Emirates and Etihad Airways Once Again Allowed to Fly India and Pakistan Transit Passengers

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has lifted a ban on transit passengers from India and Pakistan, as well as Sri Lanka, Nepal, Nigeria and Uganda but will bar most passengers from these countries from entering the UAE until further notice.

The decision was announced on Tuesday by the National Emergency and Crisis Management Authority (NCEMA) and will take effect from Thursday.

India is an incredibly important market for both Emirates and Etihad Airways but a near-total travel ban has been in place since April 25 amidst concerns about the Delta variant. A rolling ban has been regularly extended although officials have denied rumours that the restrictions could be in place by December.

Transit passengers will be permitted to travel through the UAE from these countries so long as they present a negative PCR test dated within 72 hours of travel. While waiting for their onward flights, passengers from these countries will be directed to separate airport lounges – although, presumably, they will be sat around other passengers on their next flight.

In addition, people with residency visas for the UAE but who have been locked out since the travel ban was announced will finally be allowed to return. Travellers will need to be fully vaccinated.

Travel will also be reopened to medical personnel, teachers and students.

Dubai was one of the first destinations to fully reopen to tourists following a lengthy lockdown in July 2020 but despite a rapid vaccine rollout, the UAE has failed to fully control the spread of COVID-19.

Amidst fears that Dubai was becoming a melting pot of vaccine-resistant variants, the UAE has been slapped with travel bans and warnings from a host of nations. Most recently, Saudi Arabia barred its citizens from travelling to the UAE despite the close relationship the two countries normally enjoy.

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