As part of new measures announced this week regarding Covid testing, people taking part in vaccine trials and those who are part of the national vaccination program can move even more freely than before for their efforts.
People taking part in vaccine trials: Those who have had their first dose no longer need to have any Covid test (neither PCR nasal swab nor DPI blood test) in order to enter Abu Dhabi from other emirates.
However, if entering Abu Dhabi from abroad, they must still have a PCR test both before traveling and on arrival in Abu Dhabi. They no longer have to go into quarantine, but they must continue to be tested every fortnight.
People in the national vaccination program: No Covid test needed to enter Abu Dhabi from within the UAE after they have had their second dose of vaccine.
If coming from abroad, they need to have a PCR test before traveling, on arrival in Abu Dhabi, on the fourth and eight day after arrival and every fortnight thereafter. But there is no need to quarantine.
The new measures were announced by the Abu Dhabi Crisis, Emergencies and Disasters Committee on Wednesday.
The two groups of people can be identified on the Al Hosn app by a gold star for volunteers taking part in the UAE’s vaccine trial and by an E for those who are already in the national vaccination program
In other Covid-related news, Abu Dhabi is set to become a global hub for storing and delivering Covid-19 vaccines around the world with the launch of the Hope Consortium, a collaboration spearheaded by the Department of Health Abu Dhabi with Etihad Cargo, Abu Dhabi Ports, Skycell and Rafed.
Most of the vaccines in development need to be stored at extremely low temperatures at all times, which poses a challenge for transporting them. The Abu Dhabi hub is able to handle more than six billion doses of vaccine and offers a complete supply chain solution to address sourcing vaccine supplies, vaccine transport, planning for demand, training and digital technology infrastructure to make the vaccine available across the world.
Rafed, which is part of Abu Dhabi’s ADQ holding company, will be in charge of procuring vaccines. Etihad and Abu Dhabi Ports will handle transport and distribution and the health department will ensure compliance with all regulations.
“Developing a vaccine is only the first step in getting to a solution,” said Sheikh Abdullah Al Hamed, chairman of the Department of Health Abu Dhabi. “Getting that vaccine to the whole globe, while maintaining a robust integrity of temperature is an equal challenge by itself. The Hope Consortium will provide that solution on the highest level of quality.”
Vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna in the US and by Oxford University in the UK are all close to being made available to the general public within the next few months. A vaccine developed by the Chinese company Sinopharm is in the last phase of testing in the UAE and has already been approved for emergency use.
Meanwhile, research into Covid-19 continues apace in Abu Dhabi, with Citi banking group giving a US$10 million grant f to Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi to study infection patterns in the UAE and to hire and train teams of specialist medical staff.
Anna Pukas has reported from all over the world as a foreign correspondent for British media. She is now an editor based in Abu Dhabi.