UAE ambassador to Britain disappointed as country kept on UK's travel red list

Mansoor Abulhoul says national response to pandemic has been first-rate

The UAE ambassador to Britain, Mansoor Abulhoul, said he was disappointed that the UK is keeping the Emirates on its travel red list, despite its highly successful vaccination and testing campaigns.

Under England's traffic light system for international travel, only British citizens and legal residents are allowed into the UK and must stay in mandatory hotel quarantine on arrival.

UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on Thursday said the UK would be expanding its travel ban list because of fears of coronavirus variants.

Portugal was removed from the restriction-free travel green list and no countries were added.

Mr Abulhoul questioned the decision to keep red list restrictions on the UAE.

Figures show the UAE is second in the world after Gibraltar for vaccination rates and has donated 13.1 million doses since June.

Testing is also comprehensive in the UAE, which administers more than 20 new daily Covid tests for every 1,000 people, according to Our World in Data.

“It is disappointing to see that the UAE remains on the UK’s red travel list," Mr Abulhoul said. "We have best-in-class health and safety infrastructure to protect visitors and residents.

"This includes rapid testing, social distancing and sanitisation procedures at our airports, as well as Emirates and Etihad airlines fully sanitising all planes.

"Additionally, the UAE is among the top countries in the world for both vaccination rate and its testing programme."

He said the UAE had brought in strict controls to guard against Covid-19 variants and made arrangements with other countries, including Greece and Italy, for vaccinated passengers to travel between them.

"Our aim is to allow families and friends separated by Covid-19 to reunite as soon as possible and to resume our crucial business and leisure travel links," Mr Abulhoul said.

A general view of Abu Dhabi in the UAE which remains under the UK's red list for travel. Victor Besa / The National
A general view of Abu Dhabi in the UAE which remains under the UK's red list for travel. Victor Besa / The National

Last month, the UAE was named the second most resilient country in the world for its response to the Covid-19 pandemic, with only Israel ranked ahead of it, on the Consumer Choice Centre’s Pandemic Resilience Index 2021.

Passenger flights to England from red list countries have been banned since the UK government revealed its traffic light system for international travel in February.

On Thursday, it was announced that the UK would allow passengers from red list countries to travel to England directly through designated airports under a new trial scheme.

There are only 11 countries and territories on the UK's green list, including Israel, Singapore and New Zealand.

Updated: June 4, 2021 02:08 PM

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