UAE suspends flights from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Namibia in bid to mitigate virus spread

AFRICA – The General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Emergency Management Authority (NCEMA) have announced the suspension of all inbound flights for national and international carriers coming from Liberia, Sierra Leon, and Namibia.

The travel suspension which takes effect as from today includes inbound transit passengers with the exception of transit flights coming to the UAE and heading to these countries, the GCAA said.

The GCAA indicated that it is required for those coming from Liberia, Sierra Leon, and Namibia through other countries that the period of their stay in the latter countries is not less than 14 days to be allowed access to the UAE.

This comes in response to the proactive precautionary and preventive health measures issued by all authorities concerned in the country to limit the spread of the COVID pandemic-19.

Cargo flights between these countries and the UAE will continue, as usual, the statement added.

The GCAA affirmed that UAE nationals, their first-degree relatives, diplomatic missions between the UAE and the three countries, official delegations, businessmen’s planes -after getting prior approvals- and golden and silver residency permit holders, in addition to the holders of essential jobs according to the classification of the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) and the staffs of UAE embassies in the three countries are excluded from this decision.

They however, should take preventive measures that include a mandatory 10-day quarantine and a PCR test at the airport as well as another test on the fourth and eighth days of entering the country.

According to the decision, the period of the required PCR test is reduced from 72 hours to 48 hours, provided that the tests are issued by accredited laboratories and carrying the QR Code.

The authority called on all travelers affected by the decision to follow up and communicate with the airlines to amend and schedule their flights and to ensure their safe return to their final destinations without any delay or other obligations.

Sierra Leone has been battling COVID-19 while also trying to lay measures to prevent an Ebola outbreak, soon after Guinea reported an outbreak.

The health authorities rolled out preventive Ebola vaccination as a priority action of its Ebola Outbreak Preparedness and Contingency Plan.

The vaccination targeted 16 000 people at high risk such as frontline health workers and communities in border areas.

“Apart from other critical public health measures for preventing EVD infection, the Ebola vaccine is a powerful public health tool at our disposal that can protect the health care workers and other frontline service providers who are at high risk of exposure,” says Dr Charles Njuguna, Health Security and Emergencies lead at WHO in Sierra Leone.

Sierra Leone has reported 4,816 cases and 82 deaths so far, while Namibia and Liberia have recorded 74,682 cases, 1,164 deaths and 2,995 cases and 95 deaths respectively.

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