Monday, June 21, 2021

UAE travel: Compulsory RT-PCR test 4 hours prior to departure comes as a downer to Kerala expats

While the UAE partially lifting the travel ban on Indians has come as a huge relief to Kerala expats, they are beset by several uncertainties and confusions. Although the Covishield vaccine, administered in Kerala, has been approved by the UAE, the compulsory RT-PCR test four hours prior to departure has come as a major dampener.

Only if there is a testing facility available at the airport or nearby, can the expats undergo the  RT-PCR test four hours prior to departure. However, there are no such testing facilities available in airports in Kerala.

While the state government has began discussions on arranging lab facilities at airports, including the TrueNAT test which gives results within an hour, the permission of various agencies, including the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), is required for this.

The government is considering getting temporary permission and set up facilities for COVID-19 tests. For now, only a few airports, including Chennai airport, has facilities arranged for conducting tests.

Besides, there is no clarity on travel of children who have not been vaccinated. No decision has also come about on the return of those whose visa period has expired as they have been staying in Kerala for over six months.

21/06/21 Raju Mathew/The Week

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