UAE Covid-19 restrictions ease but face mask rules to stay in place
The Supreme Committee of Crisis & Disaster Management said today that all activities, events and social gatherings in Dubai can gradually return to full capacity by 15 February in line with the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority’s decisions. The Committee expressed it appreciation for the community’s commitment to maintaining precautionary measures, urging the community to continue adhering to all preventive measures, including wearing of face masking.
During the UAE Government’s media briefing on the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Dr. Saif Al Dhaheri, Official Spokesperson for the National Crisis and Emergency Management Authority (NCEMA), announced the gradual lifting of the restrictions on activities and events capacities in the UAE.
Dr. Farida Al Hosani, Official Spokesperson of the UAE Health Sector, highlighted the importance of community responsibility and the pivotal role of community members in maintaining the country’s achievements and supporting the efforts to achieve sustainable recovery.
All sectors are fully cooperating with the health sector and are constantly monitoring the pandemic both locally and internationally, to ensure an immediate response, she added. Specialist teams are providing the necessary support to ensure the timely treatment of infections, monitor those exposed to infected cases, and provide the necessary medical equipment, treatments and vaccines.
The health sector is also using the best systems to ensure rapid intervention, aided by qualified medical personnel, she further added, affirming that the country has established plans and programmes based on accurate scientific facts and the international monitoring of the virus.
Al Hosani also explained that the health sector is constantly monitoring the pandemic and exerting efforts to curb its spread and create a healthy and preventive environment in the country.
She then stressed that the health sector continues to provide eligible segments of people with vaccines, with 100 percent of the country’s population receiving the first dose of the vaccine while 94.75 percent are fully vaccinated.
COVID-19 vaccines are safe and efficient in preventing infection and are very effective in reducing severe symptoms, hospitalisations, ICU admissions and deaths, she said, and added that vaccination is the best way to curb the spread of SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.
Dr. Al Hosani pointed out the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will be provided to children aged between 5 and 11 in accredited health centres.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been authorised for emergency use for children by the FDA and international and local organisations, she added. There is no major differences between the types of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, but the version for children aged 5 to 11 contains a smaller dose compared to the adult vaccine, she explained.
“Scientific studies conducted by relevant international advisory commissions in charge of ensuring the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, including the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children, confirmed its clear that it benefits all age groups, as it reduces infections, hospitalisations, ICU admissions and deaths,” she further said.
Dr. Al Hosani stressed community awareness is the cornerstone of addressing the crisis and highlighted its importance and the pivotal role of community members in safeguarding the country’s achievements.
She further stressed that the vaccine is not a substitute for adhering to relevant precautionary measures, such as wearing face masks, respecting social distancing and sanitising, among other protocols, She then urged community members to cooperate with the national efforts and adhere to the preventive measures by wearing face masks, avoiding overcrowding and constantly sanitising, as the community’s health is a priority and everyone’s responsibility.
Dr. Al Dhaheri said the UAE is a leading model of flexible and professional crisis handling, due to the close cooperation between national authorities and concerned sectors.
Relevant national sectors are continuously monitoring and assessing the pandemic to update relevant plans and procedures. Pandemic indicators have seen a significant recent decrease compared to the rise in vaccination and booster shot rates, he noted.
He stressed that the significant commitment of community members and their adherence to health protocols have contributed to the decline in infections and hospitalisation rates.
“In light of the decline in infection rate and further recovery measures, the country, today, is announcing the cancellation of restrictions on events and activities for various economic, tourism and entertainment facilities, and shopping malls and modes of transportation, to reach their maximum capacities by mid-February,” Dr. Al Dhaheri explained.
“It was also decided to raise the maximum capacities at social events, including weddings and funerals, and local authorities will determine the numbers of participants allowed,” he added.
Regarding mosques and places of worship, he stated that the physical distancing has been reduced to one metre, and the pandemic will be monitored with precautionary measures adjusted accordingly.
He then urged the people to commit to the green pass system on the Al Hosn application. Local emergency and crisis teams will be responsible for determining capacities in each emirate.
Dr. Al Dhaheri also stressed that relevant authorities will continue to regularly monitor adherence to the precautionary measures and will take legal action against individuals and establishments that violate them. The regular assessment of decisions and procedures are key to ensuring they are keeping pace with the overall situation, he said in conclusion.