Travellers from Kenya and Tanzania will be allowed entry into Dubai from Saturday after the United Arabs Emirates (UAE) lifted a ban it had imposed on all inbound and transit passenger flights since last year.
On Thursday, Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) director-general Gilbert Kibe told the Business Daily that the ban on Kenya was lifted on Wednesday night, offering a major relief to hundreds of travellers between the two destinations.
UAE barred entry of flights from Kenya on December 20, 2021, after establishing that travellers from Nairobi were testing positive for Covid-19 on arrival in the Middle East country despite presenting negative test results.
However, the ban did not affect cargo flights by carriers like Kenya Airways (KQ) and Emirates Airlines.
“United Arabs Emirates has lifted a suspension it had imposed on Kenyan flights,” said Mr Kibe on Thursday without giving more details.
The UAE government also announced the resumption of entry for passengers from Ethiopia, Nigeria, Congo, South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe from January 29.
However, passengers from Uganda, Ghana, and Rwanda will be subjected to strict entry requirements into Dubai.
Passengers from the three countries will be required to present negative Covid-19 PCR test certificates with QR codes for tests conducted at an approved facility no more than 48 hours before departure and at the airport within six hours before the flight. They are also required to undertake a PCR test upon arrival.
Dubai is opening its borders to Kenya days after Nairobi lifted a retaliatory ban on all inbound and transit passenger flights from the Middle East nation it had imposed two weeks ago.
Mr Kibe said the fake Covid-19 tests scheme involved a racket of private medical testing centres that colluded with travellers to issue negative PCR results to aid their travel.
The Ministry of Health has launched investigations to bring to book health officials involved in the shoddy deal that has cost Kenya millions of shillings in lost passenger revenues.