New Year's Eve at Expo 2020: World comes to Dubai for Covid-safe celebrations

With strict health, safety measures in place, the Emirate offers a reliable shield from the virus


Anjana Sankar

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Expo 2020 Dubai. Photo: Neeraj
Expo 2020 Dubai. Photo: Neeraj

Published: Fri 31 Dec 2021, 9:38 PM

Last updated: Sat 1 Jan 2022, 7:56 AM

As the world rings in 2022 amidst a looming Covid cloud, New Year revellers from across the globe poured into Dubai for safe and risk-free celebrations.

With over 90 per cent of the UAE’s eligible population fully vaccinated and strict Covid measures in place, the emirate offers a reliable shield from the virus, several tourists said.

Ahmed Agwa, a doctor from Egypt, said he felt ‘stress-free’ about Covid in Dubai. “I have always wanted to come and see the Expo. Dubai is very safe and since I am visiting with my parents, I don’t have to worry too much about taking care of them.”

“The weather is perfect, and the Covid risk is minimal. Plus, the mega fair is happening and we’re welcoming the new year. The timing can’t be more prefect. It is a good value for money,” he added.


Jana Daignaulg, her husband Garry, and their family from Canada are visiting one of their daughters in Dubai. “We are pinching ourselves. Dubai is like a dream,” said Garry.

“Dubai is leading the world in vaccination rates. It is clean and safe. People are so wonderful here. As Covid infections are rising across the world, we feel safer in Dubai as people are masking up and everyone is vaccinated,” said Jana.

Tourists could be seen roaming the Expo carnival ground as the ‘greatest show on earth’ put up a dazzling line up of festivities lasting 13 hours. Security guards were on alert, instructing visitors to keep their masks on and prodding people to maintain social distancing.

Expo visitors get safety alerts on their mobile phones, too, reminding them to follow Covid safety protocols.

Nineteen-year-old Christopher van Dierendonck and his mother Astrid van Dierendonck flew all the way from Germany to celebrate their New Year in Dubai.

“I am an avid traveller and wanted to experience all the country pavilions at the Expo. I felt good the moment we stepped into the Dubai airport, where thorough safety measures are being followed,” said Dierendonck.

His mother Astrid, a piano teacher, said she chose the emirate because of how peaceful and successful it is. “I am interested in going to places where peace prevails and the future blooms. I saw it in Dubai,” she said.

“I want my son to remember this trip and treasure everything that he sees here,” Astrid added.

Nicole Longhi and her husband Francesco from Italy wanted to have the safest New Year and they thought Dubai was the perfect place. “Your chances of getting Covid in Italy is much higher than in Dubai. And the weather is perfect. We thought if we are taking the risk and travelling, be that to Dubai,” said Longhi.

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