Abu Dhabi sets out exemptions for vaccinated people

People immunised under National Vaccination Programme or as part of the Phase-3 clinical trial require fewer tests to enter Abu Dhabi

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Abu Dhabi's government is beginning a campaign to encourage people to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

The free and voluntary vaccine also comes with an increasing list of benefits not open to others.

The rules apply to both volunteers under Phase-3 clinical trials for the Sinopharm vaccine as well as members of the public who have taken both doses of the jab and waited 28 days for the inoculation to take effect.

So what are they? The National explains.

When do the benefits apply?

As soon as the relevant icon appears on the Al Hosn app.

Participants in the Phase-3 clinical trials are identified by a yellow star on Al Hosn app. Volunteers need only have received the first dose and undergone a PCR test to be eligible for a series of exemptions for four weeks.

But people who participated in the National Vaccination Programme must wait 28 days after their second dose and undergo a PCR test for the exemptions to apply. After that time, the letter E in a red circle will appear in Al Hosn app, indicating their eligibility.

The symbol will initially appear for two weeks, but will remain if the person takes a PCR test every fortnight. If they stop taking them, the E will disappear. But taking a PCR test will renew it at any time.

What benefits does being vaccinated bring?

They range from fewer tests to removing the need to go into quarantine after returning from abroad.

Anyone who has not yet been vaccinated must have a negative test result, received within 72 hours, to enter Abu Dhabi. If they remain in the emirate for longer than six consecutive days, they must undergo a PCR test on the sixth day or risk fines.

But those taking part in trials and people who have been fully vaccinated (28 days after receiving their second dose) only need to have taken a PCR test within the past two weeks to enter the capital and do not require further testing.

“The special measures are only valid if the participant’s Al Hosn app continues to show their special status, which is linked to taking a PCR test every fortnight, as per the conditions of the trial and vaccination programme,” said Abu Dhabi’s Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee for Covid-19 Pandemic.

National Vaccine Programme participants who have received only one dose, or only recently had their second, will still need a negative PCR test to enter Abu Dhabi from Dubai and a second test on day four.

What about travel outside the country? Does being vaccinated affect that?

Everyone – including those who have been vaccinated and trial volunteers – must take a PCR test to fly out of Abu Dhabi.

But trial volunteers and those who received the full vaccine course do not need to go into quarantine when they arrive back into the emirate.

Trial volunteers and people who participated in the National Vaccine Programme will only be tested on arrival into the country.

Unvaccinated tourists or residents who fly into Abu Dhabi need to take a test on arrival and again on day six if they stay for more than six consecutive days. If they remain in the emirate for 12 days, they need to be tested again.

Tourists or residents who have not been vaccinated must also go into quarantine at home, unless they arrive from a "green country", for at least 10 days.

Does being vaccinated mean employees are exempt from fortnightly tests?

Many businesses across Abu Dhabi test their entire staff every two weeks, including office-based employees.

Updated rules were announced on Monday affecting service-industry workers only.

From January 10, people working in restaurants, coffee shops, supermarkets, bakeries, grocers, malls, commercial centres, butchers, vegetable and fruit retailers will no longer be required to take fortnightly PCR tests if they have been fully vaccinated. Everyone else employed in the sector must continue to do so.

Businesses must cover the cost of the tests, which is about Dh85 per person in government-run screening centres, for any employee who is not vaccinated.

*This article has been amended since initial publication

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