From nearly 4,000 to 48: How UAE's daily Covid cases dipped to lowest in 20 months

As of December 6, close to 91% of eligible UAE residents are fully vaccinated



Microscopic view of Coronavirus, a pathogen that attacks the respiratory tract.
Microscopic view of Coronavirus, a pathogen that attacks the respiratory tract.
by

Sahim Salim

Published: Tue 7 Dec 2021, 11:45 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Dec 2021, 3:22 PM

From a high of nearly 4,000 daily Covid-19 cases in the first month of 2021 to less than 50 in the last, the UAE has come a long way in its fight against Covid-19.

A robust vaccination campaign rolled out for free across the country for both Emiratis and expats has seen 100 per cent of eligible residents get at least one dose of a jab. This, along with proactive mass Covid testing and strict safety rules, has helped the country tide over the pandemic, including managing more infectious Covid-19 strains like Delta and Omicron.

Authorities in the country took every measure necessary — borders were closed; schools and offices went online; and stay-home orders issued — to protect the residents.

Here, we chronicle the key milestones in the UAE’s fight against the coronavirus:

January 29, 2020: The first Covid-19 case

Photo: Twitter
Photo: Twitter

A four-member Chinese family was infected with the coronavirus. Back then, it was referred to as 2019-nCoV virus.

February 9, 2020: The first recovery

Photo: WAM
Photo: WAM

A 73-year-old woman from China recovered after undergoing treatment at a UAE hospital. Liu Yujia credited authorities in the UAE for her swift recovery.

March 4, 2020: Schools ordered to close down

Photo: File
Photo: File

All schools and education institutes in the UAE were ordered to shut down and classes went online. Initially, the shutdown was for four weeks, but it was extended.

March 16, 2020: Mosques, places of worship close down

Photo by M.Sajjad/Khaleej Times
Photo by M.Sajjad/Khaleej Times

Mosques and places of worship were ordered shut to prevent gatherings. They remained shut for months, and the faithful offered their prayers with their loved ones at home.

March 19, 2020: UAE shuts borders

Photo: WAM
Photo: WAM

The UAE suspended the entry of travellers to the country to shut out the virus.

March 26, 2020: StayHome orders issued

Photo: Shihab
Photo: Shihab

Authorities across the country urged residents to stay home as a nation-wide sterilisation programme was announced. Only essential workers and those who needed to buy food and medicines were allowed to step out of their homes. Residents needed to take permits from the police to get out of their homes.

June 24, 2020: Movement restrictions lifted

Photo: File
Photo: File

After months of staying home, residents were allowed to travel freely across the country at any time of the day.

July 1, 2020: Mosques reopen

Al Farooq Omar Bin A; Khattab Mosque in Dubai
Al Farooq Omar Bin A; Khattab Mosque in Dubai

Places of worship reopened 107 days after they were closed to keep the faithful safe from the spread of Covid-19.

July 7, 2020: Dubai opens to tourists

Photo: File
Photo: File

The world’s top tourist destination, Dubai, reopened to visitors with strict Covid safety measures. Reflecting its famed hospitality even amid a pandemic, Dubai welcomed travellers with special stickers on passports that read: 'A warm welcome to your second home.'

August 29, 2020: Schools reopen

Photo: File
Photo: File

Some schools began offering hybrid learning — which saw some students return to campus, while others learned from home.

September 2020: UAE approves its first Covid vaccine

Photo: File
Photo: File

UAE was among the first countries to approve a Covid-19 vaccine, when in September it began vaccinating frontline workers. This came a month after the UAE government launched the world’s first phase III clinical trial of a Covid-19 inactivated vaccine.

November 3, 2020: Sheikh Mohammed leads the way

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, received a dose of the Covid-19 vaccine on November 3. “We appreciate the efforts of the teams that worked hard to make our country one of the first to receive the vaccine for this virus. The future is always better and more beautiful in the United Arab Emirates,” Sheikh Mohammed had posted on Twitter as he shared a photo of him receiving the jab.

December 2020: UAE approves Pfizer vaccine

Photo: File
Photo: File

This came after the vaccine recorded a 95 per cent efficacy rate.

January 28, 2021: Highest daily cases reported

Photo: File
Photo: File

Back in January this year, the UAE hit its highest tally of daily cases, when it registered 3,966 cases.

May 13, 2021: First socially distanced Eid prayers offered

Photo: Juidin Bernarrd
Photo: Juidin Bernarrd

Thousands of Muslims flocked to mosques and open-air spaces called musallahs to offer the first socially distanced Eid prayers.

August 2021: Daily cases dip despite Delta variant threat

Photo: WAM
Photo: WAM

Daily cases dipped despite the long Eid Al Adha break and the Delta variant threat. It marked the first time that cases dipped after residents came out of a long break.

September 2021: The worst has passed, Sheikh Mohammed assures residents

Photo: File
Photo: File

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said that the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic is over. This came as he chaired a Cabinet meeting. “The UAE worked as one team during the pandemic, making the country among the best globally in the fight against Covid-19,” he said.

September 19, 2021: Abu Dhabi ends PCR test requirement to enter Capital

Photo: Ryan Lim
Photo: Ryan Lim

A convoy of police patrols with their sirens flashing led civilian vehicles as the UAE Capital removed checkpoints on the Abu Dhabi-Dubai border. This came after Abu Dhabi eased rules to enter the Emirate after nearly a year.

We have overcome the pandemic, says Sheikh Mohamed: October 6, 2021

Photo: File
Photo: File

As daily Covid-19 cases dipped below 200, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, said life was returning to normal.

September 19, 2021: Pfizer vaccine approved for children

Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

The UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention said that the results of clinical studies indicated that the vaccine is “safe” and has actually given a “strong” immune response to children between the age of 5 and 11 years.

October 4, 2021: 100% on-site learning begins in Dubai schools

Photo: File
Photo: File

Schools in Dubai went out of their way to make returning students feel comfortable. One school welcomed kids back with a Bhangra dance, a traditional Indian folk dance. Schools across the country will return to full capacity from January 2022.

November 26, 2021: 100% eligible residents receive one dose of vaccine

Photo: File
Photo: File

The UAE is the most vaccinated country on earth. As of December 6, close to 91 per cent of eligible UAE residents are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.


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