3 years of fighting Covid: How UAE did all it could to protect residents, tourists

The government announced the lifting of all restrictions and preventive measures in a true sign of returning to normalcy


Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Mon 7 Nov 2022, 7:28 PM

Last updated: Tue 8 Nov 2022, 4:34 PM

Since the UAE reported the first Coronavirus case in January 2020, it has been a tumultuous three years for the country, much like the rest of the world. Authorities in the country swiftly brought in restrictions to curb the spread of the disease while providing residents with every possible means to cope with the pandemic.

Hundreds of drive-through Covid testing centres were set up, along with provisions for 24*7 medical help, facilities for online grocery shopping, food delivery and easy access to vaccinations. All these together helped the country fight the pandemic in what is widely regarded as one of the world's most successful 'fight against Covid' models.

After almost three years, the government has announced the lifting of all Covid restrictions in a true sign of returning to normalcy. Khaleej Times looks back at some of the most significant milestones in UAE’s fight.


March 8, 2020 - Schools shut down for two weeks and students switched to online learning. The two weeks was then extended till the end of the academic year in June.

March 16, 2020 - Mosques in the country were shut down for worshippers. Even the Taraweeh prayers during Ramadan were cancelled.

March 26, 2020 - All airports in the UAE were shut down as preventive measures to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

April 4, 2020 - The first drive-through Covid testing centre opened in Abu Dhabi. This model was swiftly replicated across the UAE, making testing easily available to anyone. This was a significant step in the fight against the pandemic.

April 14, 2020 - UAE imposed a nationwide lockdown. Members of the public were prohibited from leaving their homes except for essential needs, and only one family member was permitted to go out for such needs. The complete lockdown came after weeks of night curfew.

June 3, 2020 - UAE decided to reopen its airspace gradually to allow a limited number of flights. Thereafter the number of flights and airlines allowed is expanded.

December 2020 - Free vaccination drives began in the UAE. First, the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine was introduced in the country, and shortly after that, the Pfizer vaccine was also introduced. Priority is given to those over 60, frontline workers, people of determination and people with chronic diseases aged 18 and above.

June 7, 2021 - The Green Pass system was introduced on the Al Hosn app to facilitate safe movement. Depending on their vaccination status and the recency of their RT-PCR tests, people were given either green or grey passes on the AlHosn app, which permitted or restricted entry to several areas.

May 19, 2021- The Ministry of Health and Prevention authorised the emergency use of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for the age group of 12-15 years, based on results of clinical studies and rigorous assessment

November 26, 2021 - Less than a year after the vaccination drive began, UAE registered a landmark achievement - 100 per cent of its eligible population received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine.

January 2022 - All schools and education institutions across the UAE began operating at 100 per cent capacity almost two years after the pandemic.

February 15, 2022 - All capacity and physical distancing restrictions were removed from social events like weddings and funerals; sports venues like football stadiums; and movie theatres.

September 28, 2022 - Authorities decided to ease Covid restrictions and drop obligatory mask mandate in almost all places, including schools and flights.

November 7, 2022 - UAE government lift all restrictions and precautionary measures it had put in place to keep the country and its residents safe during the pandemic.


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