Emirates airlines has debunked claims that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) policy that bars transit travelers from Nigeria to Dubai and stipulated testing requirements for passengers are in no way intended to single out Nigerian passengers.
The UAE in a travel advisory tagged, “Dubai Travel Protocol Update-Travel from Nigeria”, stated that all departing Nigeria to Dubai are required to obtain a negative coronavirus (COVID-19) certificate, adding that the PCR should be conducted within 72 hours of the date of departure.
The statement further stated that all passengers are required to conduct a rapid COVID-19 test and obtain a negative result within four hours of their departure time.
“Passengers must travel directly from Nigeria to Dubai. No passengers may enter Dubai from any other country/station if they have visited or transited via Nigeria in the last 14 days”.
This is coming against the reports of purported plans by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to sanction the airline for the action it took against the spread of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. The NCAA as at press time was yet to react to the policy which many other nations are deploying to stem the rapid spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
But the airline said it is also not discriminating against Nigerians transiting via other African countries, stressing that passengers in transit are unable to meet the RAPID COVID-19 test requirements, which are currently available in Abuja and Lagos.
“Emirates hopes to continue our dialogue with the Nigerian authorities to ensure that we can carry on with our services and provide much needed connectivity and make air travel more accessible for our customers. As part of the UAE Government’s ongoing efforts to ensure a safe and healthy environment in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, a range of health requirements and testing protocols have been put in place.
“Similarly, to the measures taken by governments around the world, including the Nigerian government, protocols like testing frameworks undergo reviews and updates based on the prevailing situation at the time”.
The latest updated requirement mandated by the UAE government according to the airline was that passengers travelling from Nigeria to Dubai are required to complete a RAPID COVID-19 test no more than 4 hours before departure, in addition to PCR tests done within 72 hours before departure at approved laboratories. It noted that in line with its ongoing commitment to Nigeria, Emirates is keen to ensure that flights between Nigeria and Dubai continue, noting, “We moved very quickly to ensure that RAPID COVID-19 testing facilities were ready in Abuja and Lagos for our passengers.
“These measures are being followed to safeguard the health and safety of all those travelling, as mandated by the UAE government. Passengers travelling to Dubai from over 55 countries undergo similar measures, including a number of other African countries,” the statement explained.