Why UAE eased Covid mask rules, halved isolation period for positive cases

Mask wearing is now optional in all public spaces except medical facilities, mosques and public transportation



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A Staff Reporter

Published: Tue 27 Sep 2022, 11:31 AM

Last updated: Tue 27 Sep 2022, 2:25 PM

The UAE has eased almost all Covid-related restrictions, with the country and its residents ushering in the new normal. Mask wearing is now optional in all public spaces except medical facilities, mosques and public transportation means, while the isolation period for Covid-positive cases has been halved to five days. Social distancing at mosques has been removed, and the validity of the Green Pass on Al Hosn app has increased to 30 days.

A government spokesperson said the updated procedures have been formulated based on Covid data, including new variants, and hospitalisation and ICU admission rates. The number of daily cases has dipped to around the 300-mark, with virtually zero deaths.

The latest rules are part of the first phase of easing restrictions, with “further updates to be announced regularly”, according to Dr. Saif Al Dhaheri, official spokesperson of the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA).

The official talked about the proactive measures the country took since the first Covid case was detected in January 2020. He highlighted the successful vaccination campaign that saw 100 per cent eligible residents protected against the virus.

“These steps have led to the current period of stability and recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. The situation is stable in the country and cases are declining,” Al Dhaheri added.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) had recently said that the end of the Covid-19 pandemic is in sight. The Global Response to Infectious Diseases Index places the UAE among the top 10 countries worldwide for its proactive approach during the pandemic.

Abu Dhabi and Dubai remain the most liveable cities in the Middle East and Africa. The country’s vaccination drive made them two of the safest cities in the region and the first to recover from the pandemic, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

The vaccination campaign helped the country “avoid full-scale lock-downs in 2021 and, so far, in 2022”, EIU said.

Al Dhaheri thanked the country’s frontline medical professionals, “who continue to make tireless efforts to keep the pandemic in check”, and applauded residents for following all due precautionary measures.

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