Dubai ‘disappointed’ to be on red list as UAE claims to be one of world’s ‘safest countries’

·2 min read
Will we see the golden sands of Dubai this summer? (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Will we see the golden sands of Dubai this summer? (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), which includes mega city Dubai, has professed to being “disappointed” to be on the UK’s “red list”.

His Excellency Mansoor Abulhoul, UAE ambassador to the UK, argued that the country is “currently one of the safest in the world”.

Last week, UK transport secretary Grant Shapps unveiled the traffic light system that will allow international leisure travel to resume from 17 May in England.

Countries are classed as green, amber or red based on the risk they pose of returning travellers reintroducing Covid infections to the UK, and arrivals are hit with corresponding restrictions of varying severity.

Red list countries come with the toughest rules, with all arrivals forced to spend 11 nights in a government mandated quarantine hotel at a cost of £1,750 per solo traveller.

The price includes an airport transfer, full board and two PCR tests for travellers, to be taken on day two and day eight of quarantine.

Mr Shapps said in a press conference on 7 May that red list countries are “those which should not be visited except in the most extreme of circumstances”.

Three countries were added to the list on Friday – Nepal, the Maldives and Turkey – bringing the total number of red destinations to 43.

The UAE has remained on the list, despite the fact it does not pose a risk based on the most obvious criteria: infection rate, vaccination rate and prevalence of virus variants of concern.

Its red classification is instead due to its status as a major international air travel hub, funnelling thousands of passengers around the world via connecting flights.

The British government believes it would be too difficult to monitor where travellers flying from the UAE originated from, meaning they potentially have a higher risk of bringing Covid-19 infections to the UK.

“The UAE is currently one of the safest countries in the world in relation to Covid-19,” said Mr Abulhoul of the UK government’s decision.

“We have the second-fastest vaccination rate, one of the world’s most intensive testing systems, and are combating the spread of concerning variants by restricting entry from high-risk countries.

“We are disappointed by this outcome and hope the UAE’s status will be reconsidered at the next opportunity.”

He added: “Summer is a key season for Emiratis and the hundreds of thousands of Britons living in the UAE to visit the UK. We hope to re-connect the families and friends separated by the pandemic as well as resume the vital trade and tourism links between our countries.”

The UAE has so far administered 108.8 doses of the vaccine per 100 people and over 10.7 million doses overall.

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