Coronavirus Pandemic

UAE coronavirus: New Covid safety rules in Abu Dhabi rolled out

Ashwani Kumar /Abu Dhabi Filed on February 6, 2021 | Last updated on February 6, 2021 at 10.22 pm
Photo Ryan Lim/KT

The new rules are mandated because of the sudden uptick in the number of Covid-19 cases since the New Year.

From Sunday, 70 per cent employees of the government and semi-government entities can work from home as part of the precautionary measures to prevent the further spread of the pandemic.

Also read:

Covid-19: UAE races ahead to immunise residents

Cinemas shut, malls to operate at 40% capacity in Abu Dhabi

The new rules are mandated because of the sudden uptick in the number of Covid-19 cases since the New Year. The daily reported figures exploded from 1,856 on January 1 to 2,988 on January 7 and remained higher than 3,000 since January 12.

So, the Department of Government Support – Abu Dhabi, which prioritises and develops human capital, approved reducing workplace attendance to 30 per cent. The Department aims “to bolster precautionary measures implemented in the emirate and protect the health of employees and their families.”

The Department recommended remote working for all jobs that can be “delivered fully from outside the workplace” and advised senior employees, aged above 60 and those with chronic diseases and weak immunity to work from home.

The Department also announced a compulsory PCR test every week for all employees.

“Volunteers in vaccine clinical trials and those vaccinated as part of national vaccination programmes who have active icons (gold star or letter E) on Al Hosn app are exempted from the weekly test.”

Such developments followed the restrictions announced for malls in the emirate on Friday.

And malls on Saturday had reduced the permitted capacity of visitors from 60 per cent to 40 per cent and temporarily shut down cinema halls.

A mall manager pointed out that the restrictions were implemented in the stores inside the facility.

“We have reduced the occupancy rate of every store to 40 per cent as per the memo. So, every store in the mall must not, at a time, exceed the 40 per cent limit of its total occupancy. Cinema halls are already shut. Restaurants and coffee shops can have customers up to 60 per cent capacity and gyms up to 50 per cent,” a manager of a mall in the city said on Saturday about the changes.

Malls have been doing the temperature checks at the entrances through thermal scanners and deep cleaning and disinfection continue throughout the day ensuring the safety and well-being of the customers.

Malls largely wore a deserted look for a weekend afternoon, but visitors were back by the evening.

“We know the restrictions are in place. We hope the number of cases drop. We have taken our first doses of the vaccine. We must vaccinate as it is the only way to normalcy,” said a Filipino couple at the mall.

The number of Covid-19 cases were at 1,292 on November 6 and dropped to 1,153 on December 6. The last month of 2020 also registered a low of 944 on December 27. But just when it seemed the curve was bent, wild and irresponsible New Year Eve private parties drove the numbers. Unfortunately, a high of 3,977 was reported on Wednesday.

On Saturday, the Ministry of Health and Prevention announced 3,276 new cases from 150,706 tests conducted with 4,041 recoveries and 12 deaths.

At the moment, the vaccination drive – a beacon of hope in the dark tunnel – is progressing as planned.


Ashwani Kumar

I am a newspaperman from the emirate of Abu Dhabi. A journalist at heart. I get my stories from the streets. A south Indian born in the Hindi heartland, I easily connect with people from different nationalities and cultures. I am calm like a monk, sensitive and very patient reporter. On the ground, I cover a range of topics related to community, health, embassy, tourism, transport, business and sports. I will go out on a leg to do what’s right and stand by what I believe in.

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