As Covid-19 cases continue to rise, here’s what the UAE is doing to minimise its spread
5 May 2020| Last updated on 17 May 2020
A review of the UAE’s response to Covid-19 and what is going on during the nation’s fight against the pandemic.
As the novel coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, the UAE has stepped up its measures to stop Covid-19 from entering and spreading within the region.
From launching a pandemic lockdown to running nation-wide sterilisation programmes, the country is always seeking ways to minimise the virus.
Below is an outline of the strict measures authorities have implemented within the last few weeks, as well as the latest rules and health precautions UAE is requiring of all residents, citizens, and visitors.
Postponing Expo 2020 Dubai
The highly-anticipated World Expo has been voted to move its date to October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022, due to the ongoing pandemic. The official announcement came on May 5 after two-thirds of the World Expo Member States voted in favour of postponement.
The National Sterilisation Programme
The country-wide sanitisation programme runs from 10pm - 6am during Ramadan. First came into effect on April 4 this year, it is one of the large-scale measures the UAE has taken against Covid-19.
The programme involves disinfecting public facilities, public transport such as the Dubai Metro and RTA buses, and streets.
UAE testing centres
If you want to get tested for Covid-19 in the UAE, the nation has launched several drive-through testing centres and set up testing facilities, such as Musaffah in Abu Dhabi.
Local health authorities are providing coronavirus screenings for the following people:
- Covid-19 symtoms, such as fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath
- Have had close contact with someone who is confirmed or suspected with coronavirus
- Have has close contact with someone who travelled in the last 14 days
- If you are high-risk or part of the vulnerable groups, such as those between the age of 0-6 and 65+, or you are a pregnant women
- Have comorbidities or a history of acute respiratory illness
Mandatory face masks
UAE residents, citizens, and visitors are required to wear face masks at all times when leaving their homes. Hand gloves are also suggested if shopping for necessities, using public transport, and will partake in social gatherings.
If caught not wearing a face mask, you will be slapped with a fine of up to AED 1,000.
Shopping mall restrictions
Although shopping malls have finally re-opened, visitors are capped at a capacity of 30% only and must abide by social distancing rules. Retail outlets, groceries, and supermarkets have also placed a maximum capacity for shoppers.
Those looking to eat out during the pandemic will find that restaurants across the country are accepting dine-ins again. However, social distancing rules apply such as keeping seats empty between customers and maintaining at least a 2-metre distance when ordering food. Restaurants, cafes, and bars have also limited the number of diners they can accept at a time.
Airports temporarily closed
The UAE has temporarily closed its airports to passengers, and airline companies have suspended nearly all flights to and from the country. The decision is still in place until further notice, however, a few repatriation flights have been scheduled by some airlines.