Dubai Health Authority explains coronavirus guidelines for travellers

Siobháin Spear
Mar 11, 2020

Preventive measures will be taken upon the traveller’s return to the country to minimize the spread of coronavirus in the UAE

In efforts to prevent a further rise in cases of COVID-19, health authorities around the world have been calling on travellers to postpone travel plans unless it is deemed necessary; in addition, travellers have been asked to take additional measures if they have visited a hotspot country where coronavirus transmission is widespread.

According to WAM, the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention has said that preventive measures will be taken when travellers return to the UAE. In a statement released by the Ministry on Tuesday 10th March, the CEO of Primary Healthcare at the Dubai Health Authority, Dr Manal Taryam, discussed the latest measures in the UAE.

UAE travel guidelines

Dr Manal Taryam stated, “DHA and all relevant health authorities in the UAE are working together and have in place screenings at the airport as well as after-travel precautions that people with a recent history of travel to places of concern must follow. All these measures are aimed to control and slow the spread of coronavirus.”

Non-intrusive thermal screening has been put in place at Dubai airports for all passengers that arrive in Dubai and those coming from countries with a high rate of infection are being screened twice.

“Depending on the travel history, people may be asked to stay home for a period of 14 days,” explained Dr Taryam.

UAE lists countries of concern

If passengers are returning from Countries of Concern, or from one of the top ten countries that are reporting local transmission of coronavirus they will have to undergo a home isolation period of 14 days. This is to avoid the spread of the virus should they develop symptoms within the 14-day incubation period.

While the list could change quite quickly, the Countries of Concern at the time of writing are listed as:

  • China
  • France
  • Hong Kong
  • Italy
  • Iran
  • Japan
  • Germany
  • Singapore
  • South Korea

“All travellers who return from Countries of Concern will be asked to practice home quarantine and social distancing as a way of protecting their loved ones and the community members from the spread of the virus. The period of home quarantine will be for 14 days since that is the incubation period of this virus,” Dr Taryam explained.

Coronavirus advise for home quarantine

Dr Taryam advised that during any stay-at-home quarantine required, members of the should watch for developing symptoms of fever and flu-like symptoms. It is important that those who are undergoing self-isolation make every effort to avoid contact with others, and they should not go to work or school during the 14-day period. Exercising caution and responsibility is key; public transport and crowded public places should also be avoided.

“The basic idea is to stay indoors and to keep a distance from other family members (about 3 feet or 1 meter) until the self-isolation period is over”, said Dr Taryam. “This is a matter of community health and it’s a precaution that should be taken seriously.”

For school students and all school staff, self-isolation for 14 days after returning to the UAE is mandatory irrespective of which country they have travelled to. Even though schools are closed until 5th April, all students and staff who have travelled during the period of closure will need to practice self-isolation for 14 days.

When to seek medical advice

If an individual gets ill with fever (37.5 C or higher), or they show symptoms of any respiratory illness, they should seek medical care. The Dubai Health Authority has advised individuals to call ahead before visiting their doctor’s office or emergency room: “Tell your doctor about your recent travel and your symptoms, and avoid contact with others.”

Dr Taryam said, “we are working round-the-clock to protect community members and care for them. We urge the public to join us in our fight against COVID-19. Responsible behaviour helps protect your loved ones and community members, it prevents the ongoing community spread of COVID-19.”

Dr Taryam also encouraged people to only rely on information from official sources.

If you have a query, you can:

  • contact the DHA call centre: 800 342
  • contact the Estijaba service at the Department of Health: 800 1717
  • contact the Ministry of Health & Prevention: 800 11111

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