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COVID-19 restrictions in UAE to loosen from Wednesday

Women in face masks WAM
Face masks are still mandatory in certain settings such as medical facilities, but otherwise optional

The UAE will ease COVID-19 restrictions nationwide from Wednesday, September 28, according to WAM, the Emirates’ state-owned news agency.

The COVID-19 daily cases announcement will be discontinued because of the significant recovery seen across the country, said Dr. Saif Al Dhaheri, spokesperson for the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority.

However, the green pass system is being updated: it will require vaccinated people and exempted individuals to take a PCR test once a month to maintain their green status. Unvaccinated individuals must take the test every seven days, he added.

The green pass system remains a prerequisite for employees and visitors to enter federal authorities and entities. It is also being expanded to cover workers in the tourism and economic sectors.

Where are face masks still required?

Face masks are still mandatory in medical facilities, mosques and public transportation, as well as for food service providers, injured and suspected cases.

Otherwise, wearing masks is optional for all other open and closed facilities and spaces, Al Dhaheri said.

In mosques and places of worship, precautionary procedures have been reduced, and social distancing for worshipers has been cancelled, the official added. Wearing face masks remains mandatory.

The tourism sector, including hotels and their facilities, parks and recreational spaces, and the economic sector, such as malls and shops, in addition to various events, are vital and active sectors; therefore, the updated green pass requirements must be met to be allowed entry.

Air travel and pre-departure testing

The aviation sector will adopt precautionary measures in line with the national aviation protocol, he said, with airlines deciding whether face masks will be mandatory or optional on planes.

The requirements for pre-departure testing for vaccinated and unvaccinated people will be determined based on the needs of their travel destinations.

For those coming to the UAE, the current protocol remains applicable to both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

The safety measures will be adopted in line with the national education protocol, and wearing face masks in open and closed spaces will be optional. The new green pass requirements will be applicable.

A reduction in the isolation period

The isolation period for positive cases is being reduced to five days, for both home and institutional isolation. Employers are to take responsibility for institutional isolation measures, for example in worker housing cities.

People who come into contact with confirmed cases must take a PCR test if they show any symptoms, Al Dhaheri said. Those in vulnerable groups should take a PCR test and monitor their condition for seven days.

The updated procedures are part of the initial phase for easing restrictions, with further updates to be announced regularly. The situation is stable in the country, Al Dhaheri added, and infections are declining.