Coronavirus: air passengers exempt from Abu Dhabi travel ban, police confirm

A senior police officer said the seven-day ban on travel in and out of the emirate could be extended

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Air travellers will be allowed to enter and leave Abu Dhabi without a permit in order to catch their flights, police confirmed.

Abu Dhabi introduced a seven-day ban on travel in and out of the emirate on Tuesday as part of ongoing efforts to stem the spread of Covid-19.

Sheikh Abdulla Al Hamed, chairman of Department of Health - Abu Dhabi, said the policy was being implemented to support a major testing drive in highly-populated areas.

Residents of Abu Dhabi city, Al Ain and Al Dhafra can travel within their cities but not enter or leave them – and cannot go to other emirates.

Abu Dhabi bans movement to and from emirate

Abu Dhabi bans movement to and from emirate

Abu Dhabi Police introduced a permit scheme to approve essential travel but a senior officer has stated people travelling to airports to board flights are exempt from the online system.

Police said the permits – which can be applied for here – were for exceptional circumstances. Essential workers such as medical staff, patients with chronic diseases with medical appointments and drivers transporting goods were among those who are eligible.

Brig Gen Salem Al Dhaheri, deputy chief of Abu Dhabi traffic police, said airline passengers can simply show their flight tickets and passports at a series of checkpoints set up to manage the travel ban.

The exemption offers a boost to many travellers who have booked tickets for repatriation flights to their homelands from the UAE.

Thousands of people have flown to home to countries including India, Pakistan and the Philippines on flights arranged by governments and embassies in recent weeks.

Etihad Airways urged passengers to hand flight documentation on hand when travelling to Abu Dhabi International Airport due to the current restrictions.

Meanwhile, police have urged residents to remain at their cities of residence to avoid heavy congestion at checkpoints.

Dozens of vehicles lined up at the entry and exit points on Tuesday after the ban came into effect.

Police requested motorists to apply for the e-permit before making any journey.

Maj Gen Maktoum Al Sharifi, director general of Abu Dhabi and a member of the Abu Dhabi emergency and crisis team for Covid-19, said the national screening drive and ban period could be extended by up to a week.

"Based on the results from the screening we will decide," he said on the local news show Oloom Al Dar.

Dr Jamal Al Kaabi, acting undersecretary of the Department of Health in Abu Dhabi, said the ban was necessary to support the National Screening Programme.

“In order to execute it more effectively, we have to make a sacrifice [with regards] to movement between regions.

“This will play a very significant role in the screening process for all targeted areas.”

He said if movement is restricted, health authorities will be able to pinpoint the spread of Covid-19 in high-density areas.

A mass testing campaign that was launched on May 9, aimed to screen all workers living in Mussaffah free of charge.