Opinion and Editorial

Dubai is back to normal, almost

Filed on May 17, 2021

Pfizer doses are now being planned for teenagers.

Live entertainment is back in Dubai. More people can dine out at restaurants. A second reopening may sound like a second coming after four months of restrictions as cases rose after the New Year holidays. Clubs and entertainment venues with live bands have opened their doors to patrons who are vaccinated.

Sporting events will also see vaccinated spectators. Sounds almost normal as Dubai shows its intent to get there sooner than other cities. What has turned the tide in this remarkable and swift comeback is a vaccination campaign that has now covered every resident in the emirate. Sinopharm, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Sputnik V vaccines ensured there were enough shots for every adult. This was vaccination haven, a safe and secure place against the virus. Pfizer doses are now being planned for teenagers.

Dubai’s strategy was to widen the scope of vaccinations as infections spread early this year while being careful not to dampen or hurt business sentiment that had taken a hit in 2020. The results are for all to see as the city prepares for the Expo in October. It was important to make people understand that the government had their back and was prepared to combat any level of contagion. The messaging was clear and reached the target audience: it’s not over yet but we are getting there if the community cooperates with the government and follows health protocols, while taking their free jabs on time.

The tide is now turning in the fight against Covid-19 in the UAE, and credit must go to both people and industry who came together to get through the darkest phases of the pandemic. The global threat from the pathogen, however, is not over, but the UAE’s success story could signal the beginning of a counter-offensive against the virus that has had a crippling effect on lives and economies. South Asia and Southeast Asia are seeing a resurgence and it’s important to closely monitor developments while restricting entry of passengers from these high-risk regions in the short term.

Where the UAE has succeeded is in building a health bubble and a more resilient economy. In other words, the country is better prepared for any waves that may come in the future. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said smart crisis management helped Dubai and the UAE see off the worst of the pandemic. While there is reason to celebrate in some small measure, it must be noted that the virus thrives when humans behave badly.

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