By Harry Awurumibe, Editor, Abuja Bureau
Seven months after it stopped scheduled flights from Nigeria, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Tuesday announced that it has lifted the ban.
This cheering news no doubt has come as a great relief to Nigerian air travellers especially those who travel with the world renowned Emirate Airlines, UAE’s state-owned aviation company which operated three flights out of Nigeria per day before the ban.
A statement by the National Emergency and Crisis Management Authority (NECMA) confirmed that the lift of the ban will take effect on Thursday.
The UAE government imposed the ban on flight from Nigeria on February 4, 2021 following diplomatic row over COVID-19 protocols. Nigeria and 10 other countries were affected by the restriction.
The countries are: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Uganda, Vietnam, South Africa, Afghanistan, Indonesia and Bangladesh.
UAE-bound passengers would be able to transit through the airports of the affected countries as long as they present negative PCR tests taken 72 hours before departure.
The statement obtained by PromptNews reads: “Travel for transit passengers from all countries from which transit passengers have been suspended will be resumed in advance provided that the passenger’s last destination is accepted with a laboratory check-up within 72 hours of departure and state airports will allocate special lounges for transit passengers.
“Emergencies, Crises and Civil Aviation announce the exclusion of new categories of passengers from some of the banned countries, including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Nigeria and Uganda, as of August 5.
“These categories include those with valid residency permits who have received full vaccination doses in the UAE and 14 days have passed since receiving the second dose and who have vaccination certificates approved by the official authorities in the country.
“Medical personnel working in the country will be excluded; including doctors, nurses, technicians from restaurants and non-restaurants, and those working in the educational sector in the country who teach in universities, colleges, schools and institutes; from the vaccinated and non-vaccinated categories.
“Students studying in the country, humanitarian cases who hold valid residency and workers in federal and local government agencies, and cases of completing treatment in the country, whether they are vaccinated or not, will also be excluded.
“All these categories will be required to submit a request on the website of the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship to obtain the necessary approvals in addition to the certificates of vaccination certified by the relevant authorities in the country for the categories from which these certificates are required.
“The excluded groups will be obligated to submit a prior PCR test within (48) hours from the date of departure, provided that the tests are from accredited laboratories carrying a QR Code, and conduct a quick laboratory test before boarding the plane.
“In addition to applying precautionary and preventive measures to receive arrivals, including quarantine and PCR checks upon and after arrival, as well as follow-up and health monitoring of arrivals.”