Fully vaccinated Brits will soon be able to travel freely to and from Dubai after the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was removed from the UK government’s travel Red List. From Sunday, 8th August, the UAE will move to the Amber List allowing fully vaccinated Brits to return from Dubai without needing to self-isolate.
The UAE was one of the first countries to go on the Red List in early February over concerns about the spread of COVID-19 variants first detected in South Africa (Beta) and India (Delta). Only Brits are allowed to travel home from the UAE and on their return must quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10-days and at a cost of £1,750.
In recent weeks, Emirates Airlines said it was “frustrated” with the rules and hoped that British officials were taking notice of the UAE’s vaccination rates and success in combatting the virus.
Richard Jewsbury, divisional vice president for the UK, told the PA news agency that he was hopeful the British would reconsider the UAE’s status because “the data coming out of the UAE is very good”.
Late on Wednesday night, transport secretary Grant Shapps confirmed that the UAE would be removed from the Red List along with India, Bahrain and Qatar which will all go on the Amber list.
The change will allow fully vaccinated Brits to return without needing to self-isolate while everyone else will still need to quarantine at home for 10-days. The isolation requirement will apply even to fully vaccinated visitors if they received their shots outside the UK.
Emirates welcomed the decision saying it reflected the “extensive” steps that the UAE had taken to reduce COVID-19 infections but hoped that the country could move to the Green List soon.
“The UAE currently has one of the world’s most successful vaccination programmes – with over 79% of the population having received one dose and over 71% already fully vaccinated,” a spokesperson for the airline commented.
“Given the low numbers of coronavirus cases in the UAE, the extensive testing at Dubai International Airport, and the careful health and safety measures in place across the passenger journey, we hope to see the UAE moving to the ‘green’ list soon.”
Pre-departure tests will still be required along with post-arrival testing packages. A summary of the rules can be found here.
“We are committed to opening up international travel safely, taking advantage of the gains we’ve made through our successful vaccination programme, helping connect families, friends and businesses around the world,” commented Shapps on Wednesday.
“While we must continue to be cautious, today’s changes reopen a range of different holiday destinations across the globe, which is good news for both the sector and travelling public.”
In addition to the changes to the Red List, seven countries moved from the Amber list to the Green List. Those countries are: Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway.
Arrivals from France will also no longer need to self-isolate if they are fully vaccinated after Shapps confirmed the end of the so-called Amber Plus list. A controversial Amber Watchlist was also abandoned.
Georgia, La Reunion, Mayotte and Mexico, however, will all be added to the Red List and, as rumoured, the cost to quarantine in a government hotel will rise in cost to £2,250.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.