UAE added to India’s list of countries from which Certificate of Completion of Immunization Schedule is recognized
Indian expats in the UAE are hailing the move where fully vaccinated passengers in the country do not need to take a Covid PCR test while traveling to India.
Previously, only passengers who held a vaccination certificate issued in India were eligible for the PCR test exemption.
UAE has been added to the list of countries/regions of India from which the Certificate of Completion of Immunization Schedule is recognized. Fully vaccinated passengers traveling to the United Arab Emirates also do not need a pre-travel PCR test
Tinku K Markose, UAE Resident and Senior Biomedical Engineer, says: “It is a carefully considered decision to relax the mandatory pre-travel PCR requirements. I had traveled to India during the pandemic, and the PCR requirement required me to prepare well in advance to meet flight requirements. Ensuring the timely publication of the report, making a printout, all these tasks have been tedious for frequent travelers. Even after recent airline easing, vaccinated people from the UAE were required to carry a negative PCR report for travel. Some of my friends who traveled to India in the past weeks had undergone the tests and carried the report to avoid complications at the airport. As we enter the endemic phase, the decision will help us travel hassle-free. After India resumed international flights ending air bubbles with countries including the United Arab Emirates, it is another step in the right direction, encouraging travel in the post-pandemic period.
Passengers must upload their vaccination certificates to the Air Suvidha portal. Those who have not been vaccinated, or who do not have a certificate issued by the list of recognized countries, must take a PCR test within 72 hours of their flight. Children under 5 are exempt from PCR testing.
Praising the decision, Kabir Malkani- Entrepreneur in the United Arab Emirates said, “This is a very welcome decision as overall Covid has decreased significantly. With a larger population in India and the UAE now fully immunized, the chances of spread and infection with Covid are considerably less, although the Omicron variant appears to infect children quite negatively. Travel will be speeded up as the number of health checks will decrease and the length of time spent at the airport will return to normal hours and airports will be less congested with exceptionally long queues. But ultimately, the lack of PCR testing will be a bit of a concern.
Arijit Nandi, resident of Dubai, said: “I wholeheartedly welcome this decision. With the significant drop in the number of Covid cases in all countries, especially in India and the United Arab Emirates, I believe that removing the PCR requirement is the right thing to do. For a family to return to India, it proved costly, apart from the inconvenience factor of having to travel to a health care center to have the test done and then later taking impressions of it, a few hours before travel. For a family of four or five, the expenses amounted to a large sum.
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Bilal Saeed, a resident of Deira has planned his holiday for mid-April in his hometown in the southern Indian state of Karnataka. “We were so happy to hear this and it will be easy for me to plan my vacation like before the pandemic,” Saeed said.
Saeed, who lives with his wife and two children, said bringing children to these testing centers is a difficult task. “They don’t like nasal or throat swabs. Also, it takes a lot of planning to do the PCR tests, like making an appointment or looking for a drive-thru, and of course the wait time. Traveling in India will now become seamless,” Saeed added.