Battle of wits ends as UAE lifts travel ban on Nigeria

 

The United Arab Emirates may have blinked following the standoff between her and Nigeria over modalities for PCR tests and rapid test as the country has lifted a travel ban on Nigeria, India and South Africa.

A message from the Dubai Media Office said passengers from Nigeria are expected to have received a negative result for a PCR test taken within 48 hours before departure.

Passengers are also expected to present a negative PCR test certificate with a OR code from laboratories approved by the Nigerian government, while also undergoing the same test upon arrival at the Dubai airport.

Meanwhile, Emirates airline in its announcement expressed joy at the latest protocols that saw yours resumption in Nigeria from June 23rd.

The airline in a statement said it welcomes the latest protocols and measures announced by Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management to allow the safe resumption of passenger travel from South Africa, Nigeria and India to Dubai.

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“We look forward to facilitating travel from these countries and supporting various travelers’ categories. We will resume carrying passengers from South Africa, Nigeria and India in accordance with these protocols from 23rd June.

“We thank the Supreme Committee for their continuous efforts in monitoring the development of the situation and announcing the appropriate guidelines and protocols to protect the community and safeguard travel sector.”

On February 1, Emirates Airline had directed that Nigerian travellers at the Lagos and Abuja airports must conduct rapid COVID-19 tests before departure. This led to a ban on Emirates flights in Nigeria. The ban was lifted after the airline agreed to stop the rapid antigen tests.

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But the federal government reintroduced the ban on March 15, saying the airline rescinded on the agreement.

On March 25, 2021, the UAE embassy in Abuja announced new COVID-19 travel protocols for Nigeria as measures to curtail the spread of coronavirus in the country, passengers who have been in or transited through South Africa or Nigeria in the last 14 days before travelling to Dubai were barred from entering Dubai.

While Emirates was trying to force the hands of the Nigerian government to accept its rapid test policy, the Nigerian government said it would abide by the agreement extracted from them to suspend the exercise such a time that the required infrastructure is made available by the Nigerian government.

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Emirates A380 aircraft set for take-off

The UAE had accused Nigeria of lax COVID-19 tests and the procurement of fake COVID-19 certificates which led to spike in coronavirus cases in the UAE; the reason for the introduction of Rapid Antigen Testing (RDT) on intending travelers from Nigeria to Dubai

The carrier was suspended by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for taking an action which did not sit well with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and consequently suspended the carrier.

Few hours after the suspension, the airline got a reprieve when the suspension was lifted after Emirates backed down.

 

Wole Shadare