The United Arab Emirates (UAE) says it will lift the ban on transit passenger flights from six countries, including Nigeria, effective from August 5, 2021.
The National Emergency and Crisis Management Authority (NCEMA) announced this on Tuesday via its official Twitter handle.
In February, the UAE had banned transit flights with Nigerians on board from its airports – due to the rise in COVID-19 cases.
Also, authorities in Nigeria and UAE had been engaging in diplomatic discussions over issues relating to the COVID-19 protocol.
The UAE authorities had instructed Nigerian travellers at the Lagos and Abuja airports to take another PCR test on arrival in Dubai.
But Hadi Sirika, the minister of aviation, criticised the decision and termed it “discriminatory profiling” of Nigerian travellers.
He had said that the UAE is claiming instances of fake COVID-19 test results from Nigeria, explaining that there are fake results in UAE, Germany, Italy, and globally.
According to the statement, NCEMA said that passengers would be able to transit through its airports from Thursday as long as they present negative PCR tests taken 72 hours before departure.
“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,” the tweet reads.
“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.”
While the federal government had stated that the ban will continue, Emirates airlines also pushed its suspension of flights to and from Nigeria till August 7, 2021.