Smooth traffic as residents enter Abu Dhabi without PCR tests

By 10am on Sunday, the checkpoints at the Ghantoot border on the Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Road had been removed

After more than a year, UAE residents travelling to Abu Dhabi are freely entering the emirate without restrictions — a huge relief for many residents.

Since June 2020, UAE residents travelling to Abu Dhabi for work or to visit friends and family had to present a negative PCR or DPI result to enter the emirate.

But the Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee for the Covid-19 Pandemic on Saturday eased the pre-entry testing requirements.

By 10am on Sunday, the checkpoints at the Ghantoot border on the Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Road had been removed. Motorists could drive straight to Abu Dhabi without stopping to have their AlHosn app checked by security officers.

Indian expat Mohammad Naseeb, an IT project manager at Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), stays in Sharjah and commutes to the Capital every day for work. He was among the first residents to cross the border after the rules were relaxed.

“Easing entry regulations is a huge relief for us. I travel to Abu Dhabi every day and I had to undergo a PCR test after every two days to pass the border,” he told Khaleej Times on Sunday.

Previously, Naseeb said he would do 15 PCR tests every month, which cost him a significant amount.

“The PCR tests had become a practice for me, and it was so hectic,” he said. “I hope that the Covid-19 situation improves more and we don’t go back to those travel restrictions.”

Egyptian expat Imaan Saeed, a 31-year-old engineer who often travels to Abu Dhabi for business, said the removal of the border-entry rules could even improve business activities in the UAE.

“It is a good thing that authorities have removed the border-entry rules. I always come to Abu Dhabi for business, but I have been finding it hard undergoing the routine PCR tests whenever I have to come to the Capital,” she said.

Tunisian expat Badis Bouhadiba, a 37-year-old banker working in Abu Dhabi, said he stays with his family in Dubai.

“The border-entry rules have been a big challenge for me, as I have to travel to Abu Dhabi regularly. I had to do routine PCR tests because it was the only way to be allowed entry to the Capital. I am happy that things are returning back to normalcy,” Bouhadiba said.

Another expat, 43-year-old Susantha John, a mechanical, electrical and plumbing manager from India, said he also travels to Abu Dhabi every week for work.

“I am happy with the removal of the border-entry regulations. I am no longer worried about presenting a negative PCR result when I come to Abu Dhabi for work,” he said.

Residents were also happy that the E101 bus shuttle between Dubai and Abu Dhabi had resumed. The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) had earlier announced that the inter-city bus service would start from the Ibn Battuta Bus Station in Dubai and head to the Central Bus Station in Abu Dhabi.

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>> Families jubilant as Abu Dhabi eases entry regulations

Under the previous directives issued in July 2021, every person travelling to the emirate had to present a negative PCR test result received within 48 hours or a negative result from a DPI test no more than 24 hours earlier, regardless of their vaccination status.

Unvaccinated people had to take another PCR test on day four of entry, while those staying longer had to take an additional test on day eight.

ismail@khaleejtimes.com

author

Ismail Sebugwaawo

A professional journalist originating from Kampala, Uganda, Ismail is a happy father with strong attachment to family and great values for humanity. He has practiced journalism in UAE for the past 13 years, covering the country’s parliament (FNC) and crimes, including Abu Dhabi Police, public prosecution and courts. He also reports about important issues in education, public health and the environment, with a keen interest in human interest stories. When out of reporting duties, he serves the Ugandan community in Abu Dhabi as he wants to see his countrymen happy. Exercising and reading are part of his free time.

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