KOCHI: As the Dubai airport authorities have updated the guidelines for international travellers from India, waiving the mandatory rapid-PCR test from airports six hours before departure, many expatriates waiting to return to the emirate are relieved. They do not have to shell out the additional Covid test charge ranging from Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,500.
Under the new protocol, passengers only need to produce a negative RT-PCR test certificate taken 48 hours before departure. “I received my visiting visa from Dubai last month. Several people I know of had to cancel their journey after they tested positive at the airport’s test even though they had the RT-PCR negative test report,” said Manu P B, who recently travelled to Dubai. He, luckily, tested negative in the test at the airport. Sharjah discontinued rapid-PCR test for international passengers some time ago.
The updated guidelines have brought relief to expats planning to return to the UAE. “Already facing a demand among expats who have to go back to their workplaces in the UAE, the lifting of rapid-PCR test requirement has been made travel easier,” said a Kozhikode airport official.
Kochi airport witnesses 185 departures to the UAE per week. “At present, only Abu Dhabi is continuing with the rapid-PCR test requirement from international travellers on arrival,” said the airport spokesperson.
As per the updated guidelines, passengers need to undergo a PCR test on arrival at Dubai International Airport and undergo self-quarantine till the result comes. Those testing negative can continue with their travel plan. If they test positive, they will have to remain in quarantine and undergo treatment in Dubai.