As the world gears up to welcome a third new year under the shadow of a pandemic that refuses to die, safety continues to be a priority for participants and organisers of the celebrations.
The latest Covid variant — Omicron — has once again put the world on edge with Europe and the US experiencing an unprecedented surge in cases despite fairly high level of vaccinations. Most of them have put severe restraints on Christmas and New Year celebrations to slow the rapid spread of the variant.
The UAE too saw a spike in cases with 1,732 cases reported on Monday. Though the situation here is not as serious as it is in countries like the UK, there should be no lowering of guard.
With most of the New Year festivities on schedule in Dubai and other emirates, the participants should exercise the necessary restraint and follow all measures such as masking, use of sanitisers, and social distancing. Dubai has a record of hosting NY celebrations at the height of the pandemic last year without much adverse effect. With nearly 100 per cent vaccination and the new variant being milder, though more transmissible, this year’s celebrations in all likelihood will be safer than the previous one.
Ever since pandemic broke out, the UAE has been in the forefront of battling it with the help of frontline workers and the scientific community. From time to time, it has reviewed its experiences and refined its approaches for more than two years now. Its stellar record in pandemic fight has drawn the attention of the world and is often cited as a role model in tackling an emergency healthcare situation.
The UAE leadership’s reliance on science and its refusal to be distracted by conspiracy theories has stood the country in good stead. Dubai has opened itself very early and remained that way despite an outbreak of new variants and a surge in cases across the world. Staying shut need not be the only option. Dubai has shown the way and is going ahead full steam with New Year celebrations.
With the pandemic not going away anytime soon, we should learn to live with it and conduct our daily activities mindful of precautions. The New Year Eve celebrations too need to happen with all due safety measures. They should pay heed to all official advisories and steer clear of irresponsible behaviour. They should not venture out even if they show mild symptoms of fever and cold.
Of course, masking at all times remains the fundamental requirement. Safety should be the watchword during the NYE celebrations. All stakeholders — participants, event organisers and government agencies — should work in tandem to make this a success. Let Dubai remain a role model in conducting celebrations at a time like this. Let other cities and nations learn from it.
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