Coronavirus: Dubai to accept pre-flight Covid tests from hospitals around the world

Compulsory PCR nasal swab test can now be done at most recognised clinics, Emirates airline says

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Passengers travelling to Dubai can now take Covid-19 tests before they fly from a much wider range of facilities abroad.

Emirates airline added a list of recognised and approved testing centres around the world where screening for coronavirus via a PCR nasal swab can be done.

Previously, travellers were required to take a test in a UAE-recognised clinic overseas. Passengers flying into other airports in the Emirates must continue to do so.

A long list of testing facilities, mostly government run, was added to the Emirates online information page for travellers to Dubai.

Passengers flying in from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh can only visit the UAE if they have a negative Covid-19 test certificate from a facility approved by Pure Health, a government-approved lab operator.

New arrivals into the country may also be asked to take a second PCR test at the airport and must remain at a specified residence until results are known.

Only then will tourists or returning residents be allowed to leave quarantine, if testing negative for the virus.

Visitors from the UK can visit an NHS clinic for a nasal swab before their departure, greatly improving accessibility.

Previously, just four clinics were available for a PCR test, two in London, one outside Manchester and another in Bristol.

Tests on the NHS are free of charge to those with symptoms of the virus or to anyone who has been living or working in a region with a recent outbreak, such as Leicester or Greater Manchester.

Any clinic or laboratory can be used but the PCR test must be approved by the Public Health authority in either England, Wales or Scotland.

In the US, Emirates Airline will accept a Covid-19 negative test certificate from any registered practitioner or laboratory.

All passengers arriving in Dubai from any destination must have a certificate of a negative test taken a maximum of 96 hours before departure.

Children under the age of 12 or with moderate to severe disabilities are exempt from PCR testing.

The rest of the emirates

The UAE's federal immigration service, ICA, is separate from Dubai's GDRFA immigration authority. It continues to direct passengers to Pure Health-approved clinics, which are located in many but not all countries.

It was not clear whether travellers flying to emirates other than Dubai would be able to get tested at Emirates-approved centres.

Anyone arriving at any UAE airport without proof they are virus free will not be accepted onto the flight. Arriving passengers into the UAE and those transiting through the airport must complete a health questionnaire to provide at check-in.

A full list of recognised laboratories and clinics can be found online at, while a full list of Pure Health clinics is at