UG Airlines

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has again relaxed its Covid-19 restrictions for travellers from Uganda.

According to the new rules, passengers from Uganda to UAE will now require one PCR test prior to departure from Entebbe to the country.

“Passengers from Uganda are no longer required to undertake a second COVID19 PCR test within 6 hours prior to departure. UAE Authorities have updated their travel protocols and now require only one PCR test undertaken within 48hrs from a Ministry of Health approved lab,” Vianney Luggya, the UCCA spokesperson, said.

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The decision means that travellers from Uganda to the UAE, especially Dubai, will be saving between Shs200,000 to Shs350,000, the average cost of a PCR test.

The arrival of Omicron variant in the country and the subsequent rapid spread prompted the UAE to suspend flights from Uganda into the country to curb the spread of the virus creating bleak prospects for migrant workers and exporting companies.

In December, authorities in the UAE indefinitely suspended all inbound flights from Uganda over COVID-19 concerns. Uganda, however, did not reciprocate the ban with UCCA allowing passengers and cargo from the UAE into the country.

The UAE move threw the country’s more than 200 labour ‘externalization’ companies in crisis again. The companies whose clients are mostly destined to the UAE and neigbouring countries rely on the airport in Dubai as a final destination or to connect to other airports.

Hours after the announcement of the ban, several travellers bound for the UAE including migrant workers were stranded at Entebbe international Airport following the announcement.  Dubai is a top route from Entebbe International Airport, with an average of 16 flights a week. Uganda’s national carrier, the Uganda Airlines recently launched flights to the Emirati joining Ethiopian Airlines, FlyDubai and the Emirates Airline are among others on the route.