A recent announcement by Air India Express has brought in a sigh of relief to a lot of parents. The airline announced that kids under 12 travelling from India to UAE NEED NOT undergo the Covid PCR test. The announcement came as a reply to one of the queries raised by an Air India passenger, who was confused if her kid must undergo the test. The Air India website mentions it isn’t mandatory, but the call centre said otherwise. Click here to find out more about the rules and guidelines for expats returning to UAE.
Replying to the query, Air India announced in a statement:
“A valid negative COVID-19 PCR test, from a government-approved laboratory, no older than 96 hours prior to departure is required for travel back to Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. For children below 12 years, COVID-19 PCR Test is not mandatory.”
The airlines further stated that as per the recent update, only kids above 12 are required to undergo the PCR test. However, the airlines urged passengers to check updates regularly, as things are subject to change. The airline tweeted: “As per the recent update, it is mandatory only for passengers above 12 years of age. But please check out our blog often to know the recent updates as it may change accordingly. Thank you.”
The exemption is given in order to ease the situation for parents travelling with infants. Further, taking kids to crowded testing centers was a major concern for expats tarvelling to the UAE. However, passengers will be subject to PCR test upon arrival in DXB and must remain in their residence until the results arrive. Passengers arriving in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah will also be screen on arrival.
Difficulties Faced By Stranded Indian Expats
Obtaining approvals from ICA, getting PCR test done as per the requirement of each emirate, and lack of charter flights for repatriation are some of the hurdles Indians trying to catch their return flight to the UAE are facing. A lot of expats who have been careful and stayed indoors are now having to expose themselves and their kids due to the mandatory Covid test for travel. Some of them staying in tier two cities also complain of the lack of approved labs nearby. Click here to find out more about the rules and guidelines for expats returning to UAE.
Another expat Abhishek Kumar, 34, from Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh went to India to pick up his son. Ever since, the father and son have been stuck in India, while Abhishek’s wife is all alone in UAE. After repeated applications, Abhishek’s son has received permit to enter the UAE. However, his application has been rejected more than five to six times. With the deadline fast approaching, Abhishek is clueless about how to get back to his work and home in the UAE.
In order to be able to get back to their home and work, Indians stranded outside the UAE are requesting to extend the deadline for their return. Meanwhile, Emirates Announces Mandatory Covid Negative Certificate For Travellers From 10 Countries.
Indian Government To Liberalize Air Travel
The new Consul General of India in Dubai, told Gulf News that India is trying to liberalize air travel. “The government of India is looking at liberalising the whole regime worldwide. We have already seen those signs. We are waiting for information from Delhi about further liberalisation in air travel connectivity. I am sure after this period, we should be seeing further liberalisation,” said Dr. Puri.