Sierra Leone Telegraph: 03 September 2021:
Last week, authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), announced they have suspended their entry ban on travellers with tourist visas from several countries including Sierra Leone, imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A joint statement issued by The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) and the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority, confirmed that applications for tourist visas would be opened to travellers from all countries, starting today, Monday 30th August 2021 but under new rules.
These tough new rules include the following requirements:
- The UAE will receive tourists “from all countries” who have received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
- Passengers with tourist visas must take a mandatory rapid PCR test at the airport of departure and on arrival. The previous rules for unvaccinated (from restricted countries), including exempted categories, remain in place.
- Those with tourist visas must register their vaccination certificates on the ICA website (www.ica.gov.ae) or AlHosn app for approval to “enjoy the same benefits” as vaccinated residents in the UAE before embarking on their travel to the UAE.
According to the authorities, this change of policy is part of the country’s strategy to create a balance between public health and the activities of vital sectors, and in support of the national efforts to achieve sustainable recovery and economic growth. (Photo above: President Bio meeting UAE government officials in December 2019).
Since June 2021, when Sierra Leone recorded over a thousand cases of Covid infections, sounding alarm across several countries including the UK and the UAE, the number of reported new cases of covid infections in Sierra Leone has significantly declined to zero.
But the UK government continues to keep Sierra Leone in its Covid Red list of countries, despite protests from officials in Freetown.
UK Transport Minister – Grant Sharpe said on British television that the reason many countries such are Sierra Leone are on the Red List, is because of lack of confidence in the number of reported cases in those countries.
The government of Sierra Leone is stepping up its vaccine programme and has opened up a vaccine delivery centre outside the US embassy in Freetown for anyone wanting the jab.