Dubai tightens rules for gatherings
The Dubai authorities have tightened the rules on private gatherings and social distancing at cafes and restaurants following a spike in Covid-19 cases in the recent days.
On Friday night, the Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management restricted the attendance at weddings, social events, and private parties to first-degree relatives totalling a maximum of 10 people only, whether at a hotel or at home, effective from January 27.
Previously, a maximum of 200 people were allowed at gatherings organised in halls, hotels and tents, while home parties were limited to 30 guests. The committee also announced a decision to increase the distance between tables at restaurants and cafes from two metres to three metres and reduced the number of people allowed to sit at one table from 10 to 7 at restaurants and four at cafes.
Meanwhile, the Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police, Lt General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, urged members of public to fully observe preventive measures. He said that the recent increase in the number of reported infections are to be blamed on gatherings and visits between relatives and friends, particularly during special occasions. “All members of the society need to stick to preventive measures by 100 per cent, particularly as the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic is still on.”
The UAE government has given all support — be it financial, psychological or logistical, Lt-Gen Al Marri underlined.
“It’s time to pay back part of the debt to the Government by at least observing preventive measures and health protocols,” he said.
Four days back, Lt-Gen Al Marri received the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, as the Dubai Media office posted his photo receiving the vaccine on Monday. Earlier, he urged everyone in the UAE to take the coronavirus vaccine. “The UAE authorities have not spared any efforts in fighting the virus that has infected more than 98 million people worldwide.” He said: “People are advised to take the vaccine to get immunity against the virus and control the pandemic.”
The UAE on Friday reported 3,552 cases of Covid-19, the highest number of cases recorded till date, along with 3,945 recoveries. The total number of cases in the UAE as on January 22 stands at 270,810 while total recoveries are 243,267. Health authorities said 10 people died of related complications, raising the death toll to 776.
In the wake of a surge in Covid cases, the Dubai authorities also suspended all live entertainment permits issued in the emirate. These included activities by performers, live bands and DJs at clubs and restaurants. This also included suspension of entertainment activities on board vessels, floating restaurants “until further notice”. The city’s health authority also asked government and private hospitals to suspend all non-urgent surgeries until February 19 to prioritise Covid-19 care.
More than 24.2 million tests have been conducted in the UAE so far and the country vaccinated another 93,009 residents against Covid-19 in the last 24 hours. The country’s Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) said the total doses administered now stands at 2.33 million. This takes the rate of doses per 100 people to 23.65.
The UAE also approved its third Covid vaccine for emergency use on Thursday. Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine got the nod from authorities as part of comprehensive efforts to ensure residents’ safety.