COVID-19: UAE Removes Rapid Antigen Testing For Nigerians

…To Restart Flights Between Both Countries

From all indications, plans are ongoing to restore flight services between Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as the UAE Embassy says its government has’ decided’ to remove the requirements for Rapid Antigen test for travelers at airports in Nigeria as part of efforts to end the stalemate with regards flights between both countries.

This is just as the country has issued some requirements for the Nigerian government to meet before the move is consolidated. The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF) mandates Aviation Ministry, relevant agencies to reciprocate ban on UAE, Netherlands flights.

In a letter from the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Abuja issued to that effect with reference No.078/A/2021 among other things requested that number of passengers from Nigeria to the UAE must not exceed 200 passengers for inbound flight from Nigeria for two weeks and that only direct flights between both countries are allowed.

The letter read,” The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Abuja presents nits compliments to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Protocol Department) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with reference to the Ministry Verbal Note No. K.521/2021 dated 16th February 2021 and the Embassy’s Note Verbal No. 049/A/2021 dated 23 February 2021.

“The embassy has the honor to convey the response of the competent authorities in the UAE regarding the ongoing flight halt between the UAE and Nigeria as well as the travel requirements for travelers to the UAE. READ ALSO: UAE restricts other carriers from airlifting Nigerian passengers to Dubai Airport.

“The UAE Government has decided to remove the requirement for the Rapid Antigen test at the airports in Nigeria while demanding the following requirements: “Number of passengers on inbound flights to the UAE must not exceed 200 passengers for two weeks. Only direct flights between the UAE and Nigeria are allowed. Passengers need to present a valid negative PCR test conducted within 48 hours before boarding.

“Provide the embassy with updated list of the approved PCR test centers by the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the importance of ensuring the accuracy of the passengers’ information, contact details and place of stay during their visit in UAE.”

It would be recalled that due to the diplomatic spat caused by the continuous insistence of the UAE to conduct Rapid Antigen tests in Nigerian Airports, the country suspended flights to and from the UAE which led to carriers like Emirates and Air Peace suspending flights to and from Nigeria.

The issues driving the back-and-forth dispute is not unconnected to the fact that the UAE wants its passengers departing Nigeria to have three COVID-19 tests within 24 hours. That includes an initial PCR test, an antigen rapid test at the airport, and a PCR test at the arrival airport, a move the Nigerian authorities have frowned at.

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