DUBAI — More than 200 passengers were stopped from boarding their flights from two Indian cities to Dubai after their coronavirus test results were deemed invalid, local media reported Tuesday, citing airport authorities.
The incidents highlight a persistent problem with credible test results for people traveling from India to Dubai. At one point, authorities in the United Arab Emirates banned Air India Express flights because several of the carrier’s passengers tested positive on arrival.
The passengers not permitted to fly had test results from labs that UAE authorities had deemed not valid and on Monday, Air India Express tweeted out a list of labs that weren’t recognized. Dubai has highlighted the Pure Health-approved laboratories as being an acceptable source for the coronavirus test needed to enter the country.
According to the Khaleej Times, 117 passengers from Kerala’s Kannur International Airport were not allowed to board, while another 100 were kept off their flights in Kozhikode International Airport.
One of the blacklisted labs said its letterhead and credentials had been forged to produce the fraudulent test results. Millions of Indians work in the UAE and there is a constant flow of flights between the two countries. Pandemic restrictions require a negative coronavirus test result to enter the UAE.
On Sept. 17, Air India Express said it had received a notice of suspension for two weeks from Dubai airport authorities after two passengers on different flights were found to be infected with the novel coronavirus. The ban was later shortened to 24 hours.
The airline also had its flights to Hong Kong banned between Aug. 18 and 31 after 14 of its passengers tested positive in Hong Kong after arrival.