By John Ikani
United Arab Emirates (UAE) has suspended all incoming flights from Nigeria and three other African countries from December 25, 2021.
This includes suspending the entry of travellers who were in Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia, during a period of 14 days before coming to the UAE. Flight operations will continue to transport passengers from the UAE to these countries
The development was announced by UAE’s National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Emergency Management Authority and the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).
The GCAA noted that the suspension became imperative following the emergence of the new COVID variant, Omicron, which continues to spread like wildfire.
Nigeria on Tuesday recorded 2,123 fresh cases of COVID-19 , (the highest in a long time) as announced by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
However, the ban will not stop the transportation of passengers from UAE to the four selected countries.Travellers from the selected countries who go through other countries have been advised to remain in those countries for 14 days before entering the Emirates.
Nonetheless, “UAE nationals, their first degree relatives, diplomatic missions, official delegations between UAE and these countries and Golden residence holders are excluded from this decision,” the statement reads in part.
“The excluded categories should present a negative COVID-19 test obtained within 48 hours of departure and a Rapid-PCR test at the airport within six hours of departure whenever possible and another PCR test at the airport upon arrival to UAE.
“A 10-day quarantine and a PCR test on the ninth day of entering the country is required for UAE nationals, their first-degree relatives, diplomatic missions and golden residence holders,” it added.
This development may worsen the volatile diplomatic relations between Dubai authorities and the Nigerian Government which on Tuesday reinstated the flight approval for Emirates Airlines, as compensation for granting Air Peace multiple daily slots to fly to Dubai.