Life has changed for now and we have to live with the new norms for some time. This sometimes depends on each one of us, as to how we take measures to protect each other and how quickly we stop the spread of COVID-19 and control it for times to come.
Airlines tickets are expensive and we cannot blame airlines as the recession created by the pandemic has affected the airlines badly and they are still struggling to survive.
As I decided to travel to Dubai for a business trip and further to a few more places which I will cover later on, I came to know that I cannot just buy the ticket as I used to do before and that I have to go through a couple of PCR tests that too once I have purchased the airline’s ticket. This process initially looked a bit wary but once I bought the ticket I went to one of the authorized labs for the PCR test which took about five minutes and I was told that result will be updated on their website which can be accessed through the link that will be shared through SMS. I received the SMS within 12 hours and the relief was that the test was negative. At this time I packed my bags and finished a few important things including a little shopping.
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As I mentioned, you need two PCR tests so the turn for the second PCR test came six hours before the departure, this is an extra measure taken by the UAE government to keep the spread of the pandemic in control, it’s a rapid test which is conducted at the airport of departure. The results are given in a couple of hours. Ultimately my name was announced and I collected the result yet again and it was negative. This process of two PCR tests costs around USD 65.
Now, the protocols of COVID-19 travel to Dubai were complete, and then it was travel as usual but airports being a public place were safe and people were wearing face masks and using hand sanitizers. The flight crews were dressed up like they may travel to space thereafter, but that’s essential as they are the people who are exposed in a closed aircraft environment every day. All passengers were advised to keep their facemask on during the flight. A hot meal was served during the flight and crews were busy as if it was a routine flight.
It was around 0330 am that we landed in Dubai. Went through immigration in about ten minutes and the staff there was welcoming. Now it was yet another PCR test that was required on arrival and it was just a walk around and took a couple of minutes. We were told that the result will be updated through an app and SMS and that we were free to go out. However, as a precautionary measure, we were also told to stay quarantined till you get the PCR test report that too for a few hours in which the result will be available. Baggage came in next ten minutes and thereafter it was Customs which was closely monitoring the passengers going out of the departure lounge and were occasionally asking a few passengers to pass their luggage through the scanners.
Peace and prosperity were the two visible things not only from the smiling faces but from the tranquility of the surroundings as well. Didn’t see any worries anywhere which were being portrayed in the international media once the travel advisory was issued by the USA for its citizens. Right at the airport, I could see so many people from different countries either busy in their routine work or waiting to receive their loved ones.
We need to get back to our routine life but with new norms, as that will determine our freedom of movement for the next few years.
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