UK government has announced a travel ban to 30 countries, to which UAE has been recently added.
The ban has been implemented from 1 pm today on passenger flights from Dubai or Abu Dhabi to arrive in the UK. The announcement came on Thursday at 5pm, giving people only around 20 hours to arrange their return to the UK. This has caused great chaos and inconvenience for many travellers returning from or via the UAE and many British expatriates from Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and other UAE parts.
The government says that the measure is aimed at stopping the spread of the South African coronavirus variant.
Three flights from Dubai and two from Abu Dhabi were due to land at Heathrow before the 1pm curfew on Friday.
One flight arrived at Manchester Airport from Abu Dhabi, and one landed in Glasgow from Dubai.
The Gulf hubs are generally favoured by people flying from Asia and Australasia to the UK on connecting flights.
British and Irish nationals and those with residence rights will still be able to enter. Still, they must self-isolate for 10 days at home, along with their households.
They will not be eligible to use “Test to Release,” scheme that allows quarantines in England to stop self-isolating with a negative test on or after day five.
People without the right to live in the UK will be refused access to the UK. Those who have been in the UAE in the last 10 days will also face refusal tho entry.
By far the largest number of flights to and from the UAE are provided by Emirates.
A spokesperson for the airline told the Independent:
“As directed by the UK government, Emirates will be suspending passenger services between Dubai and all our UK points, Birmingham, Glasgow, London, Manchester. This is effective from 1300hrs GMT on 29 January 2021 until further notice. We regret the inconvenience caused, and affected customers should contact their booking agent, or Emirates call centre for rebooking.”
All direct flights due to arrive in the UK from Dubai airport has now been suspended. The airport informed passengers booked on those flights not to travel to the airport.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps mentions in Twitter that passengers allowed to enter the UK would need proof of a negative test. They will also need to completed passenger locator form before arrival. Failing these they could face two £500 fines.
Featured image: British travellers rushed to return home from the United Arab Emirates ahead of a flight ban (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)