Fully vaccinated travellers to the Emirate of Abu Dhabi will no longer need to take a PCR test before boarding their flight, however they will still be required to provide recognised Covid-19 vaccine certification with a readable QR code upon arrival.
Unvaccinated arrivals over the age of 12 will still be required to present a negative PCR test result taken within 48 hours of departure, or a Covid recovery certificate dated from within 30 days of departure.
On-arrival PCR tests at Abu Dhabi airport are also no longer mandated for any new arrivals, regardless of vaccination status. However, testing facilities at the airport will remain in place for travellers who wish to be tested.
Additionally, while fully vaccinated travellers can gain entry to many indoor venues by presenting a valid Covid vaccination certificate – many attractions, such as malls, hotels, theme parks and restaurants still have Covid entry requirements.
However, unvaccinated or partially vaccinated travellers must present either a negative PCR test result taken in Abu Dhabi or a fellow UAE state, or a digital Green Pass – activatable using a negative PCR test result.
It follows the removal of the Abu Dhabi’s ‘Green List’ country ranking system in favour of an individual-based system of Covid travel restrictions, following ‘positive indicators’ that the emirate has entered the pandemic’s recovery phase.
Ireland removes all Covid entry requirements
The Republic of Ireland removed all Covid entry requirements for international travellers on 6 March.
Following the changes, travellers will no longer be required to present proof of vaccination or recent recovery from coronavirus and are also no longer required to fill in a Passenger Locator Form.
In a statement, the Irish government said: “There are no post-arrival testing or quarantine requirements for travellers to Ireland. Travel carriers will not ask to check a PLF receipt prior to travelling to Ireland. Any individual that develops Covid-19 symptoms while in Ireland should follow the Health Service Executive (HSE) guidance in relation to isolation and undertaking antigen or PCR testing as appropriate.”
Germany also removed all countries from its list of ‘high risk areas’, as part of a revision of its coronavirus travel rules on 3 March.
IATA and ACI press Europe to drop Covid travel restrictions
The alleviation of travel restrictions in Ireland comes as Airports Council International (ACI) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) released a joint statement calling for the removal of all remaining Covid travel restrictions within the European Union (EU) and Schengen areas.
This includes the removal of all testing requirements, including the need to present proof of vaccination or completion of a Passenger Locator Form (PLF), as well as dropping mask requirements for flights within or between countries where it is no longer required in other indoor environments, ideally ‘ahead of the summer season’.
ACI EUROPE and IATA also reiterated the vital role played by the EU Digital Covid Certificate (DCC) in giving states the confidence to reopen borders and restart travel.
The organisations argued that the pervasiveness of the Omicron variant in Europe, and the population’s level of immunity to it, was at such a level that the risk of hospitalisation or death has been dramatically reduced, and that consequently it is ‘only logical to remove similar restrictions from air transport.’
The statement cited research by OXERA and Edge Health which found that even if a new variant was discovered and travel restrictions introduced immediately, it would only delay the peak of infections ‘by a maximum of four days’.
Rafael Schvartzman, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Europe, said: “Europe’s population immunity is strong, and Covid-19 is essentially now an endemic disease. The time has come to focus their Covid efforts on surveillance and remove remaining intra-EU restrictions. This will free people to travel, and support jobs returning to the European air transport and travel sectors.”