India-Dubai travel: Passengers who have taken Covishield jabs can return.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine being sold in India under the brand name Covishield is a UAE-approved vaccine, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) said on Sunday.

The health authority responded to queries from UAE residents on social media as to whether passengers who have taken the Covishield vaccine that is being administered in India would be allowed to travel back as per the new travel protocols.

“Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and Covishield are the same vaccines,” read a tweet from the DHA. Other UAE-approved vaccines, according to the DHA, are Pfizer-BioNnNTech, Sinopharm, and Sputnik V.

The clarification comes a day after the Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management in Dubai announced updated travel rules for inbound passengers arriving from India, South Africa and Nigeria.

Authorities in Dubai eased travel restrictions on passengers coming from India to the emirate, provided they complied with new Covid-19 safety rules.

One of the criteria stated that UAE residency visa holders wishing to fly into Dubai should have received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine approved by UAE authorities.

While the new travel protocols will go into effect on June 23, travel agents and scores of residents are desperately awaiting clarity on the finer details of the travel protocols. Travel agents have said residents are hesitant to book their flight tickets due to a lack of clarity on travel procedures.

Afi Ahmed, managing director of Smart Travels, said: “While there are a large number of enquiries from interested travellers, very few passengers are booking tickets from India. The main concerns are the vaccination status of accompanying children and whether residents need to take pre-travel GDRFA and ICA approvals.”

Raheesh Babu, group COO of Musafir.com, said: “The biggest concern among a lot of travellers is the four-hour validity rapid PCR test they need to take pre- travel. Airports can only offer this facility, and most airports in India do not have this facility.”

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