Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Expats will require swine flu certificate before returning to the UAE

Here's the latest idea; all expats must produce a certificate saying they are swine flu free each and every time they return to the UAE from overseas. Every business trip? Every holiday? After every weekend run to Muscat? Or does it mean that if you have *symptoms* you must get a doctor's certificate to confirm that whatever you have, it isn't H1N1? How will the immigration guys at the land borders decide who does or does not have a fever? The last crossing I did only a couple of weeks ago I didn't even have to get out of the car and they certainly didn't have scanners at the Fujeirah crossing.
If you're doing a visa run to Hatta or Wajajah and you're in Omani territory for maybe 30 minutes tops (depending on whether you have a coffee or not), do you have to get a doctor's certificate from the nearest town in Oman to say you're swine flu free? What tests is the doctor required to run? Will the certificate have to be in Arabic? How can a doctor who's never met a patient previously sign off on a certificate, when that patient is possibly be infected with H1N1 but not yet showing symptoms? We're off to Tanzania to do a safari so do we have to obtain a certificate from a doctor somewhere in Tanzania? I'm sure the few doctors that are in Tanzania have far better things to do.

Source: Gulf News
Expatriates who are working in the UAE and are on vacation abroad will have to produce a medical certificate that proves they are not infected with H1N1 virus before returning to the country.
The move will be implemented from August.
A source from the National Committee for Combating Swine Flu also said that instructions have been issued to all airports, sea ports and land border points to quarantine any person suspected of having H1N1 symptoms upon entering the country.
"Without this certificate, any person with swine flu symptoms will be prohibited from entering the country. Accordingly, any company or establishment will have the right to cancel sponsorship, if the worker conceals an infection intentionally," the source said.
The source told Gulf News that the committee followed some infected cases with the H1N1 virus during the last few weeks and found that strict measures for containing the virus have to be taken.
The source also said that quarantining people infected with the virus, and not allowing them to be in touch with others in public locations such as markets, malls, cinemas and worship areas is vital in curbing the spread of the virus.
One of the important decisions taken by the committee is to provide malls with thermal scanners to detect those with high fever, before quarantining them. Strict instructions have also been issued to airlines to advise people coming to the UAE to contact the authorities if they have high fever.
This will help the committee to follow up their case and curb the virus from spreading. Airlines are also instructed to print brochures to increase awareness among passengers and to urge them to declare their health status.
The committee held a meeting on Sunday with officials at the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education to set up a plan for the new school year.

1 comment:

  1. None of the other papers or the radio are talking about this new regulation. Guess we have to wait and see the reaction from the UAE residents. This will be a nuisance and I wonder if it will really work!