Update on masks, social distancing, PCR tests, government office entry, quarantine, travel
Abu Dhabi: The UAE recently eased COVID-19 precautionary measures in the country. Authorities, however, are continuing to work to keep residents safe, while many measures have been removed or modified. So what’s changed and what has not?
Most notably, facemasks are now optional outdoors, and there are no restrictions or checks for entry into Abu Dhabi emirate. However, attendees at events and certain venues must still present the green pass on the country’s official ‘Alhosn UAE’ app to gain access, which means they must have a valid negative PCR test result, and they must be fully vaccinated or have an approved vaccination exemption.
Here are all the current measures and updates residents need to know:
Across the UAE, facemasks are now optional outdoors. But masks must still be worn in indoor spaces, including students in the classrooms, mall visitors and conference attendees.
For example, visitors to Expo 2020 Dubai need no longer wear masks outside the various pavilions.
These measures still remain in place in public areas and at public events, although less restrictions are imposed on maximum capacity. In Abu Dhabi for instance, malls, events and tourism destinations are allowed to accommodate people up to 90 per cent of total capacity.
While capacity has been increased to 90 per cent, attendees must present a green pass on AlHosn. The National Crisis, Emergency and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA) also said that the PCR test with a negative result, which is required for the green pass, must have been taken within 96 hours. In Abu Dhabi, certain high-level events also mandate shorter validity for these PCR test results.
Visitors to public spaces in Abu Dhabi, including malls, gyms, cinemas, restaurants and spas, must present the AlHosn green pass. Most of these spaces also use EDE scanning in conjunction with the green pass for purposes of entry.
The NCEMA has mandated that all government employees, as well as individuals visiting government buildings as customers or contractors, must present a green pass on AlHosn. This requirement has been reiterated by various local governments for their own facilities, including for Abu Dhabi and the northern emirates.
This means that people who have not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 cannot enter government premises unless they have an approved vaccination exemption.
Children still wear masks within the classroom. But they can remove the mask outdoors in Abu Dhabi’s private and charter schools, as well as in the emirate’s nurseries, the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (Adek) has said. The authority has also allowed schools to once again organise field trips and sports activities. In addition, school buses have been allowed to operate at 100 per cent capacity. The same rules apply at Dubai private schools.
Mosques have re-established the interval between prayer calls and the iqaamah (start) of congregational prayers. They have also placed Qurans for use by worshippers, and these are sterilised after each prayer.
Worshipers must, however, maintain one-metre distance between themselves at mosques and other places of worship.
Sporting events can now be organised for all groups of residents, but attendees must present a green pass on AlHosn App to access them. In many cases, the negative PCR test with a negative result must have been taken within 96 hours’ of entry.
In addition, attendees must also wear masks, even in outdoor venues, because of the turnout at these venues.
Close contacts now no longer need to follow quarantine procedures. However, those aged 18 years and above must take a PCR test daily for five days after being informed about their close contact status. Children aged below 18 years, meanwhile, must get tested on Day 1 and Day 4.
These individuals must still isolate themselves at home for the period mandated by the health authorities of each emirate.
However, Abu Dhabi no longer requires patients to use a wristband during home quarantine.
To regain the AlHosn green pass, patients must simply isolate themselves at home for 10 days, or obtain two negative PCR test results taken 24 hours apart if they have no symptoms.
Travellers no longer need to quarantine at home following their arrival, or take PCR tests upon arrival.
Instead, vaccinated travellers have to only present an approved QR-coded COVID-19 vaccination certificate.
Unvaccinated travellers, on the other hand, have to present a negative PCR test result received from an approved lab within 48 hours’ of travel, or present a QR-coded COVID-19 recovery certificate within one month of travel.
Abu Dhabi has also cancelled its ‘green list’ system.
The emirate has removed all COVID-19 screenings at the border, including PCR testing and EDE scanning.
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