Clarified: Quarantine guidelines for passengers arriving in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi Airports
Abu Dhabi Airports
Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: When does an international passenger coming in to Abu Dhabi need to take a COVID-19 re-test? And how can one go for the test and not be fined for violating quarantine. This was a question raised by a Gulf News reader. He asked: “Would you please clarify about the process of having another RT-PCR (real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) test on Day 6 – is it also mandatory for international passengers coming to Abu Dhabi from outside the UAE? If the test is mandatory, how can the visitor leave the house to visit the lab in order to do the test, without being fined Dh50,000, especially if he has the electronic wrist band? Is there another process which needs to be followed?”

On September 17, Abu Dhabi Media Office issued a detailed clarification on the quarantine guidelines for international travellers returning to Abu Dhabi. Passengers arriving to the UAE through Abu Dhabi will be subject to the following procedures:

• Undergo a PCR test for COVID-19.

• Register under quarantine system and receive an electronic tracking wristband at the border or entry point. The electronic wristband must be worn for 14 days in self-quarantine.

• Undergo a PCR test on Day 12

• Once a negative COVID-19 result is received, the wristband will be removed on Day 14.

Landed in Dubai, do I need to quarantine in Abu Dhabi
Picture used for illustrative purposes only.
Image Credit: Supplied

If you are arriving at an airport in another emirate and then travelling to Abu Dhabi by road, the procedure will differ slightly.

If you have spent less than 14 days in another emirate after arrival in the UAE, you have to:

• Undergo a PCR test for COVID-19 at the Abu Dhabi border

• Register under quarantine system and receive an electronic tracking wristband at the border or entry point

• The officials may deduct the number of days spent in other emirates after arriving in the UAE from the required self-quarantine period. For example, if you spend two days in another emirate, then you have to spend only 12 days in self-quarantine in Abu Dhabi.

• Undergo a PCR test on Day 12

• Once a negative COVID-19 result is received, the wristband will be removed on Day 14.

If you have spent more than 14 days in another emirate after arrival in the UAE:

• you need not quarantine upon travelling to Abu Dhabi

• Passengers may enter Abu Dhabi via approved border procedures, and after required tests. As announced earlier, this means that they must present a negative PCR or DPI test with 48-hour validity at the Abu Dhabi border, then undergo a PCR test on the sixth day of consecutive stay in Abu Dhabi.

Quarantine location

On arrival in Abu Dhabi, health authorities will evaluate the most appropriate location for quarantine. This may be at home, in a hotel or in accommodation provided by the authorities.

I am landing at Abu Dhabi airport but then travelling to another emirate

Abu Dhabi Media Office also clarified the general procedure that international travellers need to follow when landing in Abu Dhabi.

• You must undergo a PCR test within 96 hours of your flight departure time.

• If this test is negative, and the person arrives in Abu Dhabi, they must take a DPI test upon arrival.

• On the other hand, those who do not conduct a PCR test with 96-hour validity before landing in Abu Dhabi will have to undergo a PCR test upon landing. Individuals have to wait at the entry point or airport until the test result is received.

• All people arriving in Abu Dhabi must sign an undertaking to adhere to precautionary measures and disclose a contact number and full address of accommodation in any of the other emirates.

Further clarification

The Abu Dhabi Media Office published answers to a list of frequently asked questions, further clarifying aspects of the regulations that need to be adhered to.

If I am travelling to Abu Dhabi emirate from another country, do I need to quarantine?

Yes, 14 days quarantine is mandatory for all international arrivals to the emirate – both tourists and visitors and UAE residents – whether coming through an Abu Dhabi border or coming through any other UAE entry point.

How do I get the wristband? Will I have to pay for it?

Representatives of the relevant authorities at all Abu Dhabi entry points will provide incoming travellers with an electronic wristband. The wearer does not have to pay for it.

Why do I need to wear an electronic wristband?

The electronic wristband helps to track home quarantine cases to ensure compliance with quarantine procedures, in a bid to ensure the health and safety of travellers and community members, and to avoid the spread of infection.

Where will I quarantine?

For those quarantining at a residence, not a hotel, accommodation will be evaluated upon arrival. If it is deemed unsuitable for quarantining, you will be asked to check in to a hotel or use accommodation provided by the authorities. Those living alone may quarantine at home. Those living with family members or in shared accommodation will need to carry out their quarantine in a different location for 14 days. This may either be a hotel or accommodation provided by the authorities. Families travelling together may quarantine together at home.

What if I am coming to Abu Dhabi via an airport that is outside Abu Dhabi emirate?

These procedures (14 days quarantine) apply to all international travellers coming to Abu Dhabi, whether they are entering through Abu Dhabi entry points, or through entry points in other emirates.

What if I spend time in other emirates before entering Abu Dhabi? How long will I have to quarantine in Abu Dhabi for?

Every day a traveler spends in another emirate before arriving in Abu Dhabi will be deducted from the 14-day quarantine period. For example, if they stay in other emirates for 10 days, they will need to quarantine in Abu Dhabi for four days. Once the 14-day quarantine period is complete, travellers must abide by the daily guidelines applicable to visitors and residents.

What if I am planning to spend less than 14 days in Abu Dhabi or the UAE, with some time in Abu Dhabi?

It is mandatory for those coming to Abu Dhabi emirate to quarantine for 14 days, and travellers must plan their trips accordingly.

What if I am planning to arrive in Abu Dhabi but go straight to another emirate?

Prior to arriving in Abu Dhabi, you must undergo a COVID-19 PCR test within 96 hours of your departure. If you have taken your PCR test within 96 hours, upon arrival in Abu Dhabi, you only need to take a DPI test. If you did not take a PCR test within 96 hours of your arrival, you need to take a PCR test and must wait at the entry point or airport until you receive your results. All travellers must sign an undertaking to adhere to precautionary measures and disclose a contact number and full address of accommodation outside Abu Dhabi emirate. The accommodation address can be either a hotel or a residence.

What if I want to visit another emirate during my 14-day quarantine period?

While you are in Abu Dhabi, you must adhere to the emirate’s quarantine guidelines. However, if you travel to another emirate during your 14-day quarantine period, you can deduct the time spent there from your 14-day quarantine period in Abu Dhabi.

Where am I allowed to go during the quarantine period?

The quarantine guidelines aim to protect travellers and community members. To achieve this, travellers must abide by the quarantine rules and stay within their homes, hotel rooms or accommodation provided by the authorities, and until after a negative COVID-19 result is received.

20200911 abu dhabi
Picture used for illustrative purposes only.
Image Credit: Gulf News archives

What happens if I visit another emirate during my quarantine period but need to depart the UAE from Abu Dhabi?

Those who leave Abu Dhabi during their quarantine period for another emirate, and wish to re-enter to depart from Abu Dhabi airports or entry points, may do so after obtaining a negative COVID-19 test result, and presenting a confirmed reservation for travel from Abu Dhabi.

What happens if I don’t self-quarantine for 14 days, or fail to wear the electronic wristband?

The electronic wristband helps to track quarantine cases. Failure to adhere to the instructions or procedures will result in fines, according to a decision by the Attorney General.

What if I have to break quarantine because of an emergency?

If you have to break quarantine due to a necessity, and enquiry will be made afterwards to ensure that it was justified.

What type of test will I take on Day 12? Will I need to pay for it?

All travellers will undergo a PCR test for COVID-19 on Day 12, at their own cost.

How do I take the test on Day 12? Do I need to make an appointment?

A representative from Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre will contact you to make a test appointment at one of the following Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha) facilities:

– COVID-19 Prime Assessment Centre at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec)

– COVID-19 Prime Assessment Centre at Al Ain Convention Centre

When and how will the wristband be removed?

A representative from Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre will contact you to arrange the removal of the wristband on Day 14, following a negative COVID-19 test result, at one of the following following Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha) facilities:

– COVID-19 Prime Assessment Centre at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec)

– COVID-19 Prime Assessment Centre at Al Ain Convention Centre

– Information courtesy Abu Dhabi Media Office

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