Authorities in Abu Dhabi have announced that travel in and out of the emirate remains prohibited through to Tuesday, June 16, to limit the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Travel between the emirate's regions - Abu Dhabi city, Al Ain, and Al Dhafra - remains suspended, although travel within the regions themselves is permitted. Special permits will be available for essential workers, the transport of essential goods, and medical visits.
The initial restriction came as officials announced the easing of certain COVID-19 restrictions from Monday, June 1, with the authorized capacity of malls, restaurants, hotels, and museums being raised from 30 percent to 40 percent, and the resumption of individual outdoor sports for people aged between 12 and 60 is permitted. However, the national curfew remains in effect between the hours of 23:00 and 06:00 (local time).
On Thursday, June 4, UAE-based airlines Emirates and Etihad Airways announced that they will begin resuming international flights between Monday, June 8, and June 15. Flights will initially be limited to transit flights, repatriation of ex-pats, or return flights for UAE citizens. Emirates will resume flights to 29 destinations from Dubai International Airport (DXB) between June 8 and June 15. State carrier Etihad Airways will operate flights to 20 destinations from Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) from Wednesday, June 10. With flights covering destinations in Southeast Asia, Europe, and the Americas, the UAE is hoping to resume its position as a major international hub for air travel.
Authorities announced that as of Wednesday, June 3, all shopping malls and private sector businesses in Dubai are permitted to resume operations at full capacity, provided social distancing measures and other controls are met. Private businesses and shopping centers may operate within the permitted movement timings, between 06:00 and 23:00. Individuals are required to observe preventative measures, including wearing a face mask and maintain social distancing at all times in public and in workplaces.
Local authorities have been gradually lifting COVID-19 restrictions in place in Dubai for several weeks. Cafes and dine-in restaurants have reopened at 30 percent capacity and public parks and hotel beaches reopened in May with restrictions in place. Sports activities and outdoor tourism also resumed for groups of up to five people. Some restrictions remain in place; individuals who are high-risk or who have pre-existing illnesses, children under the age of 12, and people over 60 are still not permitted to enter commercial, recreation, and education centers.
As of Tuesday, June 8, there have been 39,376 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in UAE, with 281 associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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