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Coronavirus Pandemic

Reopening responsibly: Boosted by 3M tests, UAE restarts foreign travel, relaxes movement for the elderly Filed on June 18, 2020 | Last updated on June 18, 2020 at 06.15 am
dubai, coronavirus, covid19, uae, dubai reopens

(KT file)

The emirate has also allowed full resumption of certain activities that were earlier restricted.

Dubai has lifted movement restrictions on the elderly and children under 12 years of age. Starting today, people of all age-groups can visit public spaces like shopping malls and commercial centres while adhering to the existing precautionary measures, including wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing.

However, in all other emirates, the relaxation is extended for adults under the age of 70, who can can enter malls, while restrictions for those above 70 and children under 12 remain in force, officials have clarified.

With three million Covid-19 tests, the UAE now leads the world in per capita testing, Abdul Rahman Al Owais, UAE's Minister of Health and Prevention, announced yesterday.

After the initial unified disinfection programme, different emirates can now roll out their own programmes, regulations and sanitisation schedules, in keeping with the evolving situation.

The UAE yesterday also announced a detailed foreign travel protocol for UAE citizens and residents, who can, starting June 23, travel to specific destinations categorised as low-risk and medium-risk countries. No travel is allowed for countries categorised as high risk.

>> Before leaving the UAE >> At the destination >> Upon returning to the UAE
. Register with Twajudi . Follow local guidelines and measures for Covid-19 . Follow the federal and local guidelines for Covid-19

. Ensure you meet all requirements of the destination: Pre-travel check-up, health insurance, quarantine, tracking programmes/apps

. Self-monitoring for Covid-19 symptoms . Download and activate the AlHosn app
. Follow guidelines and precautions at the airport and in the aircraft . UAE citizens must notify the UAE embassy in destination country if you experience any symptoms . Follow UAE quarantine guidelines and testing procedures (which vary depending on the destination the traveller is returning from)
. Fill out the traveller's health status form . If you experience any symptoms, head to the nearest medical centre for emergency testing   
. Register through the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (FAIC) website in order to travel outside the UAE    
. People over 70 are not allowed to travel. Those with chronic diseases are discouraged to travel    

Dubai's public libraries, private museums and art galleries will also welcome people of all age groups. Home services such as those providing healthcare services to elderly people and people of determination and home beauty services will also be resumed. Elective surgical procedures lasting more than two and a half hours are allowed.

Dr Amna Al Dhahak, spokeswoman for the UAE health sector, has clarified that the new rules easing restrictions on the elderly and children under 12 only applies to the emirate of Dubai. "Adults up to the age of 70 can enter malls, but the lower age limit of children under 12 is still in force for other emirates," she said.

Dr Farida Al Hosani, spokesperson for the UAE government, said: "We should continue protecting ourselves through adhering to the precautionary measures, boost our immune system through health lifestyles-including balanced diets and exercise, protect our families and community and to take care of family or anyone who have chronic diseases."

Under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management headed by His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced the resumption of a new set of economic activities and services in the emirate effective June 18, 2020.

Precautionary measures

Activities permitted within sectors that resumed their operations in the last few weeks will continue observing specific precautionary measures aimed at safeguarding the health and wellbeing of the public.

Services that will reopen and activities that will resume include public libraries; private museums and art galleries; home services (such as those providing healthcare services to elderly people and people of determination); home beauty services, and elective surgical procedures lasting more than two-and-a-half hours.

Other activities and facilities that may now resume (with strict precautionary measures) are:
* outdoor tourism and fitness activities such as camping;
* swimming pools;
* fitness centres;
* water sports;
* water parks;
* interactive water activities,
* 3D and 4D cinema halls; and
* children's sports and play areas at public parks and beaches.

Elderly and under-12 kids allowed in malls

People over the age of 60 and children under the age of 12 will be allowed to visit shopping malls, commercial centres and other public places while strictly following precautionary measures, such as wearing face masks, maintaining a distance of two metres from others and avoiding crowded areas.

The Committee stressed the need for everyone to continue to remain vigilant and observe preventive measures. The decision to resume the new set of activities is aimed at meeting the needs of the community and easing earlier restrictions enforced to combat Covid-19.

Rapid response to Covid-19

The Committee said the speed at which Dubai and the UAE have tackled the crisis has enabled it the nation to avoid the worst-case scenario. The large number of Covid-19 tests that are conducted daily have minimised the rate of infections, and isolating confirmed and suspected cases had helped limit the spread of the virus.

The ability of the healthcare sector to increase the capacity, particularly in Dubai hospitals, in close cooperation with the private sector boosts the emirate's ability to effectively deal with all potential scenarios, the Committee added

Reopening responsibly

The Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management said the shared responsibility of the community encapsulated by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed's words "We Are All Responsible" is a crucial element in overcoming the pandemic. The community's commitment to precautionary measures outlined by health authorities remains vital to Dubai's ability to fight the pandemic.

Each member of the public is responsible for maintaining a minimum distance of two metres from others in outdoor and indoor public areas, wearing face masks, regularly washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds and using hand sanitisers throughout the day, the Committee stressed.

Lack of compliance with precautionary measures will undermine the efforts of local and federal authorities, the Committee further said. Inspections will continue to be implemented across various facilities, offices, shopping malls and various outlets to ensure full adherence to precautionary measures. Those found violating these measures will be fined. 

Ismail Sebugwaawo

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