On Saturday, September 12, Abu Dhabi health authorities announced that anyone entering Abu Dhabi emirate must take an additional polymerase chain reaction (PCR) coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test on the sixth consecutive day in the emirate. Violators of the new measure will be subject to fines and legal proceedings.
Since September 5, entry into the emirate requires either a negative COVID-19 PCR test result or a negative Diffractive Phase Interferometry (DPI) laser test result within 48 hours. The new measure means that those entering must also take a follow-up PCR test on their sixth day in the emirate. Reports indicate that the six days must be consecutive. Those who leave the emirate in under six days and then return will reportedly not be liable; however, they will still be required to take a PCR or DPI test to gain re-entry. Volunteers in the emirate's COVID-19 vaccine trials are exempt and are also permitted to use emergency vehicle lanes to travel.
UAE authorities previously implemented a requirement on August 1 to present a negative PCR test for all arriving and transiting flight passengers. Authorities also require negative tests to be dated within the prior 96 hours of arrival in the country and to be carried out by a recognized laboratory. The measure applies to Emirati citizens, tourists, and residents, regardless of which country they depart from; however, children with moderate or severe disabilities and those aged 11 or under are exempt from this requirement.
The UAE recorded its single highest daily increase in COVID-19 cases on Saturday, with 1007 new cases recorded. A spokesperson for the UAE health sector reported that there has been a five-fold increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases since August 10. Government officials have warned that a renewed lockdown could be implemented in certain areas if infection rates remain high, though no such action has yet been taken.
As of Monday, September 14, there have been 79,489 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the UAE and 399 associated fatalities. 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). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
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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