Live updates: follow the latest news on Covid-19 variant Omicron
On Saturday, Abu Dhabi announced the latest changes to its green list for travellers.
The emirate removed some countries which have experienced a surge in new cases owing to the Omicron variant and added others where the number of new cases is more stable.
But what is the green list? And do travellers coming from countries which have been removed from it still have to quarantine?
Here we explain.
What is the green list?
It is a list of countries which are considered lower risk for Covid.
Anyone returning from a green list country to Abu Dhabi does not have to quarantine – including those who are unvaccinated.
Since September, all vaccinated travellers have been exempted from quarantine anyway, although mandatory PCR testing remains.
Vaccinated travellers who return from a green-list country must take a PCR test on arrival and again on day six. Tests are free on arrival and in Seha screening centres.
Unvaccinated people returning from a green-list country must take a PCR test on arrival, plus on days six and nine, with day one counting as the day of arrival.
People are considered unvaccinated if they have not had a booster within six months of their first two doses.
All travellers flying into Abu Dhabi must also take a PCR test no more than 48 hours before their flight departs.
How often is the green list updated?
Regularly. The most recent changes were made on January 1 and come into effect from January 3.
As of January 3, the list will comprise of 71 countries.
The UK, which has witnessed a surge in Covid cases fuelled by the Omicron variant, as well as Turkey, Jordan, Qatar, Russia and Lebanon, were all removed.
Algeria, Morocco, the Seychelles and Tunisia were added.
If an unvaccinated passenger comes from a country not on the green list, what happens?
They must go into quarantine for 10 days and will be monitored with a tracking wristband. They can do this at home if they have a bedroom and private toilet. If they do not have anywhere suitable, accommodation will be provided by the government.
In addition to quarantine, all those who are unvaccinated who return from countries not on the green list must take a PCR test on arrival and again on day nine.
The rule also applies to tourists.
How do tourists prove they are vaccinated?
Via Al Hosn app, which is used in Abu Dhabi to prove a person’s vaccinated status to enter many public places.
They can do this by initially visiting the ICA website or app, which will ask applicants to provide their passport details, as well as the name of the vaccination and dates of the first, second and third doses, where applicable, along with their vaccination card.
Applicants will receive an SMS confirmation with a link to Al Hosn app. This must be downloaded before travel. It collates information such as PCR test results and vaccination status.
People can also upload proof of vaccination via Al Hosn.
According to the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi website, the app will recognise and automatically synchronise tourists’ international vaccination certificates uploaded on the ICA app or website.
Tourists will need to enter a Unified ID number to complete the registration.
If you are flying with a pre-arranged visit visa, you should carry a PDF or printout of the document to show on arrival. On that form there is a temporary Unified ID number, usually in the top right corner of the page.
It is best to download the app in advance and enter the number, in case you need to use the app to enter somewhere soon after arrival.
If you are from a country that has a visa-on-arrival arrangement with the UAE you only receive a visa stamp on your passport and a five-digit number – not a Unified ID.
Abu Dhabi attractions will also accept tourists’ vaccination certificates from their home country app or official report, as well as the negative PCR result from the airport test via SMS, “in the case of any technical issues with Al Hosn,” the Department of Culture and Tourism said.
Which countries are currently on the green list?
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Hong Kong (SAR)
Papua New Guinea
Republic of Ireland
Taiwan, Province of China
United States of America