UK sets date to accept vaccinated travelers to UAE after months of blocking popular travel routes


A businessman walks past an Emirates Airbus A380 during the Dubai Airshow on November 18, 2013 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Christophe Furlong | Getty Images

The UK will accept vaccinated travelers to the UAE from October 4, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said on Wednesday, reopening a popular travel itinerary after months of deterring people from the UAE with demands to costly and strict hotel quarantines.

“We will be accepting vaccination certificates from the United Arab Emirates starting October 4 following updates to their vaccination app,” Shapps said in a Twitter post. “As a major transport hub home to many British expats, this is great news for reopening international travel, boosting business and reuniting families.”

The news is a relief for many in the predominantly expatriate desert sheikh of 10 million, of which at least 150,000 are UK citizens who have not been able to visit their families since the UK put the United Arab Emirates on a red list for travel last January.

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“I am delighted to be able to visit my family and my grandfather without the hassle,” Amy Saraireh, a British national living in Dubai, told TBEN in response to the news.

The Red List designation meant travelers to the UAE – including UK citizens and those who had been vaccinated in the UAE – had to quarantine themselves for 10 days at a hotel designated by the UK government at a cost. staff of almost £ 2,000 if they wanted to enter the country.

In the spring, tens of thousands of people living in the United Arab Emirates signed a petition demanding that the British government change the designation of the trip, citing the high rates of Covid vaccination in the country. But the UK government declined to make any changes, citing the UAE’s status as a popular travel hub as a risk, despite cases of the Delta variant sweeping the UK at the time.

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Dubai International Airport was ranked as the busiest airport in terms of passenger traffic in 2019, and the Dubai-London route was one of the most popular for Dubai’s flagship carrier, Emirates Airline.

The United Arab Emirates has one of the highest coronavirus vaccination rates in the world. The country’s vaccination campaign has relied heavily on the Sinopharm vaccine made in China, amid questions about the vaccine’s effectiveness compared to those made elsewhere. At the same time, revolutionary cases have also increased among people vaccinated with American and European-made vaccines.

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It is not clear whether travelers vaccinated with Sinpoharm will fall into the same category as those vaccinated with vaccines approved in the UK like those developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-Astrazeneca.

The change in travel rules will come just after the start of Dubai’s flagship event Expo 2020, which begins on October 1 and has been postponed for a year due to the pandemic. It will last six months and the emirate hopes to attract 25 million visitors to the event, a year and a half after the Covid crippled global mobility.