UAE extends Covid-19 PCR test validity to 96 hours for returning residents

Source: KT | Published on 24th July 2020, 5:59 AM | Gulf News |

The UAE on Thursday extended the validity of the PCR test for passengers arriving in the country by 24 hours.

In a tweet on Thursday, the National Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation announced that the time between taking the PCR test for Covid-19 and arriving at one of the UAE airports should not exceed 96 hours, and the test results must be negative. It was announced during a media briefing on Wednesday that the time limit would be 72 hours.

Dr Saif Al Dhaheri, official spokesperson of the NCEMA, said the tests must be conducted only at accredited centres, a list of which is available on www.screening.purehealth.ae .

All UAE residents returning from abroad will be required to submit a negative Covid-19 PCR test result before flying. The decision to apply prior testing on all those coming to the country shall be applied from August 1. Earlier, it was said that the rule will be effective from July 24. Airports also need to ensure that residents have signed a Health Declaration Form.

Where to get the tests done?

All UAE-bound passengers can get their mandatory PCR negative test results from a government-approved laboratory in their home country, in case a testing centre is not listed on the Pure Health list of laboratories recommended by the Federal Authority of Identity and Citizenship (ICA), authorities have said.

In a series of tweets, the NCEMA said: "All PCR laboratory exams are observed in accredited laboratories shown at screening.purehealth.ae." However, the authority has left it up to the airline to decide the validity of the tests.

It added: "The airline is obligated to make sure that those arriving on flights have a negative Covid-19 test result. During this time period, the traveller should reach the country regardless of the departure airport."

'List of Centres on Pure Health is a recommendation'

On Wednesday, the NCEMA said: "Regarding countries that do not have centres listed on the digital platform at this time, airlines will coordinate with residents wishing to return to the country in order that they can show a negative PCR examination result which has been taken from a centre approved in these countries."

In response to questions posed by Khaleej Times, a high-ranking Emirates airlines official clarified that it is accepting Covid-19 negative test results from any government-accredited laboratory from across the world.

"The list of labs mentioned on the Pure Health website is not a mandatory one, but are recommendations for prospective travellers. Emirates will accept any local government-accredited lab test results from across the world," said the official. However, the Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways said on its website: "If there are no testing facilities at your point of departure, or you test positive, you will not be permitted to travel." ou will not be permitted to travel."

In a media briefing yesterday on the latest Covid-19 developments, the authorities also announced that airlines must ensure that all returning residents have negative PCR results issued by accredited centres.

The authorities have also being asked faithful to perform Eid Al Adha prayers at home in the UAE even as mosques will be allowed to operate at an increased capacity of 50 per cent after the Eid break, from August 3. The ministry, however, advised residents to avoid family gatherings and meetings. The official also advised residents not to distribute gifts or cash among relatives and use online means.

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