NIGERIA and the United Arab Emirates have lifted restrictions on direct flights between them after a long-standing disagreement between both countries. The dispute was over the use of rapid COVID-19 tests.
Authorities in the United Arab Emirates announced this on Saturday while giving an update on Dubai’s travel protocols for inbound passengers from South Africa, Nigeria, and India.
With the development, Nigerians will only need to present negative PCR tests taken within 48 hours before departure alongside a certificate and QR code from a government-approved laboratory. Passengers from South Africa and India need to prove they have received two doses of vaccines.
The directive, according to the Supreme Committee of Crisis and Management in Dubai, will become effective from June 23.
Saturday’s update comes as a huge relief to Nigerian travelers, who have had to observe a 14-day quarantine in other countries before being granted access into the UAE, leading to a trickling in of tourists. Passengers from South Africa and India need to prove they have received two doses of vaccines.
Food vendors, who depend heavily on tourists, have been among the most impacted by this shortage.
Nigerian-owned restaurants in Dubai that depend largely on tourists say they have suffered huge losses already.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Gatewind Services, Austin Edeko said the development means much to him and Nigerians doing business in the Asian nation.
“It’s a huge relief for every Nigerian,” he said, describing it as one of the best news since the COVID-19 era.
For Armstrong Olusoji, doing business has not been the same since the Dubai government imposed travel restrictions.
He said there has been a lull in transactions since his business opened one month before lockdown in March 2020.
“I believe it’s been tough for everyone,” Armstrong who runs an African cuisine restaurant, added.
Nigeria remains Dubai’s largest source market in Africa and is expected to participate in EXPO2020.