Emirati authorities announced on Monday, May 18, that the current nationwide nightly curfew would be extended to between the hours of 20:00 and 06:00 (local time) from Wednesday, May 20, until further notice due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Those violating the curfew or not wearing a face mask and practicing social distancing in public may be fined up to Dh 3000 (USD 816). Authorities have urged the public to avoid family gatherings during this period. The government has permitted malls to operate between 09:00 and 19:00 during the Eid al-Fitr holiday period, which will be held between Saturday, May 23, and Sunday, May 24.
Parks and hotel beaches reopened in Dubai on Wednesday, May 13; however, no more than five people are permitted to gather together, as the UAE begins the easing COVID-19 restrictions. The Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management is further allowing the refund and return of goods and the use of fitting rooms in shopping malls and retail outlets. Furthermore, tram and ferry services have also resumed operations. Mosques, cinemas, public beaches, and nightclubs remain closed.
Additionally, Emirates has announced plans to resume flight operations to nine destinations from Thursday, May 21, including London Heathrow, Frankfurt, Paris, Milan, Madrid, Chicago, Toronto, Sydney, and Melbourne, subject to government approval. Eligibility and entry criteria requirements will apply to individuals wishing to book the flights. Residents with relatives in the UAE will be permitted to return from Monday, June 1.
As of Tuesday, May 19, health authorities have confirmed 24,190 COVID-19 cases and 244 associated deaths in the country. Further spread of the virus is 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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