Dubai: Covid protocols to stay until start of Ramadan
Restaurants and cafes will be required to close by 1am.
The stricter Covid-19 measures being enforced in Dubai since the beginning of February will be extended until the start of the holy month of Ramadan in mid-April, the emirate’s authorities announced on Friday. This means pubs and bars will remain closed, while restaurants and cafes will still have to shut by 1am. Malls, hotels, pools and private beaches will operate at 70 per cent for the extended period. The capacity of indoor seated venues, like cinemas and entertainment and sports venues, should be capped at 50 per cent.
Issued by Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management, headed by Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the decision was based on an evaluation of the evolving Covid-19 situation, data showing the effectiveness of intensified safety measures, and the recommendations of frontline authorities.
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Hailing the move, healthcare professionals said the “wise decision” will help curb the spread of the virus on multiple levels. Dr Ravi Arora, internal medicine specialist at NMC Specialty Hospital Abu Dhabi, said: “The decision to extend Covid-19 safety restrictions till mid-April is a welcome move from multiple perspectives. This would permit containment of communicability of the virus while mass vaccinations continue in the backdrop. This break of viral infectivity is paramount; more so since global spread of the variant strains is gaining stronger foothold. Hence, a drop in infectivity coupled with vaccination induced rise in herd immunity is our best bet to beat the virus.”
He added that it is imperative to take cognizance of the fact that some variants (like UK and South African) are not just more easily transmissible but also carry the potential to cause more severe disease. “Newer variants may also come with a super-added risk of negating the efficacy of any vaccine. Therefore, whatever we can do to halt the spread will benefit the community by not only limiting the disease spread but also by mitigating the risk of emergence of variants in the society. With these timely measures in place we can look forward to a safe and blessed Ramadan which is just round the corner.”
The committee said the country’s response to the pandemic is part of an integrated plan. Commending the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA) and the Ministry of Health and Prevention for their success in coordinating counter-pandemic measures, it added that it would continue to monitor local and international developments to ensure optimal response.
The team also praised the pace of the Covid-19 vaccination drive in Dubai and the UAE. As on February 26, nearly 6 million vaccine doses and over 30 million tests have already been administered across the country.
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“The country has one of the highest vaccination and testing rates globally. These figures demonstrate the strength and preparedness of the UAE’s healthcare system,” the committee said. The committee urged the public to continue observing precautionary measures, stressing that their commitment is critical in the fight against the pandemic. Observing protocols and safety guidelines remain the most effective ways of curbing the spread of the virus.
Residents are encouraged to report violators of Covid-19 precautionary measures — whether they are individuals or establishments — through the Dubai Police’s Call Centre 901 or its ‘Police Eye’ service in its smart app.
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