Abu Dhabi sterilisation drive: New Covid safety measures go into effect
Sweeping measures introduced in the Capital include movement restrictions, testing and entry rules, and reduced capacity at public spaces.
Shopping malls, supermarkets and other public places in Abu Dhabi closed hours before midnight to enable residents to reach home early before movement restrictions came into effect on Monday.
Public bus services also stopped operating at 10pm in various areas and some residents who were unaware about the change in operations following the new rules ended up stranded on the roads as they waited.
The new Covid-19 safety measures in Abu Dhabi went into effect on July 19, the first day of the Eid Al Adha break.
The sweeping measures issued by the Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee include movement restrictions; testing and entry rules; and reduced capacity at malls, cinemas and other public spaces.
Radars in Abu Dhabi were activated after midnight to detect residents who stepped out of their homes during the National Sterilisation Programme that also began on Monday as part of the new safety measures.
According to the new rules, the movement restrictions will be in place from 12 midnight to 5am. The Abu Dhabi Police said the radars will be used to impose fines on "those liable".
Residents who need to leave their homes for essential reasons or to buy food or medicine during these hours would need to procure a movement permit. They can apply for one at the Abu Dhabi Police website.
Ugandan expat Samuel Magezi, who was aware about the new measures but had no idea about the change in operations of public buses, said he was stuck in Khalifa City on the first day of implementation of the new rules.
“I had gone to visit a friend in Khalifa City during the evening. I left his place at 10pm so I could catch a public bus to Abu Dhabi city and reach home before midnight,” he said.
“I waited for more than 40 minutes, and no bus arrived. This was unusual. That was when someone told me that the public buses had stopped operations at 10pm due to the sterilisation programme.”
The Ugandan expat said he had to call a friend with a car who came and picked him up before the movement restrictions began.
Another resident, James Richardo, a Filipino national residing on Muroor road, said he was home by 11pm on Sunday due to the movement restrictions.
“I always hang out with friends and return home after midnight. But due to the new rules that came into effect early morning today, I had to return home early because I didn’t want to get into trouble,” he said.
Bhupinder Singh, general manager and CFO of Dalma Mall, says the closing time for the shopping mall has been changed from 12am to 10pm due to the new measures.
“We have to ensure that shoppers leave the mall early so they can reach home before the strerilisation programme begins at midnight,” he said.
“We are also keen to ensure that restaurants and cinemas in the mall operate at reduced capacity as per the new measures. We are keen on people’s safety.”
New restrictions have also gone into effect at the Abu Dhabi border, with entry allowed only to those presenting a negative PCR test result with 48 hours validity and 24 hours of receiving a negative DPI one. They must also take another PCR test on days four and eight after entry.
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