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UAE to lift ban on entry from African countries where Omicron originated

UAE to lift ban on entry from African countries where Omicron originated. Picture: Pexels

UAE to lift ban on entry from African countries where Omicron originated. Picture: Pexels

Published Jan 27, 2022

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The United Arab Emirates National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) has announced that on Saturday, January 29, it would lift entry restrictions imposed in November 2021 on travellers from 12 African countries from which the new strain of coronavirus, Omicron, began to spread around the world.

"From January 29, entry into the UAE for arrivals from Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Nigeria, the Republic of the Congo, the Republic of South Africa, Botswana, eSwatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe is allowed again," NCEMA said on Twitter.

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The UAE authorities’ conditions for entry from these countries include a negative PCR test for Covid-19 no later than 48 hours before arrival, and another upon arrival in the Emirates.

They asked residents of African countries to refrain from travelling if they have symptoms of Covid-19.

When the Omicron variant was reported by South African scientists in November, Dubai’s Emirates airline suspended passenger operations from the SADC region.

The airline suspended flights to and from South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia on November 27 after news broke that South Africa had detected the Omicron variant.

“Until further notice, Emirates is temporarily suspending passenger operations to and from South Africa (Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town), Zimbabwe (Harare) and Zambia (Lusaka),” the airline said.

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The airline later announced that it would operate passenger flights four times a week into Johannesburg from December 1 to 31, 2021, but said it would not transport outbound passengers from Johannesburg due to the current travel restrictions.

They also temporarily suspended passenger operations to and from Durban and Cape Town.

There has been no word from Emirates on when flights from South Africa will resume.

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