Covid-19 in the UAE: All you need to know about the easing of rules

It will be up to education regulators to confirm if any changes will be made to quarantine procedures or the use of face masks

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UAE authorities on Friday announced the most significant steps to ease restrictions since the start of the pandemic.

The decisions scrap quarantine for close contacts, remove PCR testing requirements for travellers and lift border restrictions in Abu Dhabi.

But what do the changes mean for people in the UAE?

The National explains.

Face masks

People will no longer have to wear face masks outside, starting from Saturday. The rule applies across the UAE.

However, face masks must still be worn in all public indoor areas, such as shopping malls and schools.

Rules on physical distancing also remain in place.

Close contacts

Close contacts of positive cases no longer have to quarantine.

That means people who know they have been exposed to the virus are now free to leave their homes at any time, but they must take PCR tests for five consecutive days.

In Dubai, close contacts of positive cases who are not experiencing any symptoms do not have to quarantine, and no PCR testing is required.

Mosques

The National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority has approved the return of the pre-pandemic time intervals between the first and second prayer calls. The first urges Muslims to come to the mosque, while the iqaamah, the second, occurs just before prayers summoning worshippers to line up.

A limited number of copies of the Quran will be available, but worshippers must keep a physical distance of one metre.

Schools

The full implications of the changes are not yet clear for schools.

It will be up to education regulators to confirm if any changes will be made to quarantine procedures or the use of face masks.

In a statement, news agency Wam said each emirate was free to determine several aspects, including “the quarantine period and PCR tests for Covid contacts in whatever sectors and professions".

Travel

The UAE has scrapped PCR testing for fully vaccinated travellers. Instead, they must only show a vaccine certificate with a readable QR code.

Anyone who is not vaccinated must show a negative PCR test conducted within 48 hours of departure or a recovery certificate with a QR code proving they have had the virus within a month of travel.

Abu Dhabi has scrapped its green list system and removed quarantine for all international travellers.

It will also remove all road border controls from Monday, ending the need to show the Al Hosn Green Pass when entering from Dubai.

EDE scanners will be removed at checkpoints for commuters entering the emirate.

Tracking wristbands

Tracking wristbands that were in use in Abu Dhabi to monitor the movement of people with Covid-19, will no longer be used during home isolation. They were not used in Dubai.

Operating capacities and the green pass

Operating capacities for events, tourist attractions and commercial premises in Abu Dhabi will increase to 90 per cent.

Face masks will still be required indoors and the green pass and EDE scanners will be used for visitors’ and employees’ entry. The need to maintain physical distancing will remain.

In Abu Dhabi Government buildings, the Green Pass will still be required for employees, visitors and contractors. Unvaccinated employees will not be allowed to enter without an exemption.

The Green Pass system will also still be needed to gain access to public places like shopping malls.

Updated: February 28, 2022, 10:12 AM
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