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Police patrols, drones to ensure Covid-19 safety as Sharjah International Book Fair opens today

Afkar Abdullah /Sharjah
afkarali@khaleejtimes.com Filed on November 3, 2020 | Last updated on November 4, 2020 at 05.46 am
Photos by Shihab/Khaleej Times

More than 80,000 books in over 30 languages will be exhibited in-person at Expo Centre Sharjah from today until November 14.

As the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) opens tomorrow, 20 police patrols and a number of drones have been deployed to monitor compliance with Covid-19 safety measures. Officers and volunteers on the ground will be reminding visitors to wear their face masks and keep a safe distance from others.

Patrols have also been stationed around Expo Centre Sharjah to organise traffic movement for the fair’s visitors, guests and publishers.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Brig-Gen Dr Ahmed Saeed Al Naour, director-general of Central Operations at the Sharjah Police, said keeping the public safe and preventing the spread of Covid-19 are a top priority at this year’s hybrid SIBF edition, organised by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA).

As the fair’s cultural events and inspiring talks go virtual, more than 80,000 books in over 30 languages will be exhibited in-person at Expo Centre Sharjah from today until November 14.

This means book lovers, students and families will still get to enjoy the experience of trawling through countless new titles on-site, but with stringent safety measures in place. All visitors, however, will need to book their slots on registration.sibf.com before going to the Expo Centre.

Police patrols and volunteers will be roaming around the halls to check if visitors are masked up and observing the social distancing norm.

“Visitors who fail to follow the safety rules will be warned several times before they are asked to leave the venue,” Brig-Gen Al Naour said.

“We will be implementing all precautionary measures set by the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority in all stages of the SIBF. The Sharjah Police have prepared an integrated plan for both traffic regulation and on-site security procedures.”

Thermal scanners and sanitisation tunnels have been set up at all entry and exit points. The police will also supervise and facilitate the five-hour disinfection that will be carried out every day across the centre’s halls and publisher stalls.

Fixed-3-hour visits

Ahmed bin Rakad Al Ameri, chairman of the SBA, said they have been working with authorities for a safe SIBF run.

Visitors who are expected to arrive at their booked time slot will be given coloured wristbands to monitor the duration of their stay at the venue. They have a maximum of three hours to enjoy the fair.

The SBA has also set up a Covid-19 testing clinic for the screening of publishers and staff.

afkarali@khaleejtimes.com

Afkar Abdullah





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