Places of worship in UAE allowed bigger congregations under new Covid-19 rules

Most parents want to see their children return to schools for in-person learning this year, survey finds

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - Reporter: N/A. News. Covid-19/Coronavirus. Midday prayers are performed at Al Farooq Omar Bin Al Khattab Mosque in Dubai. Wednesday, July 1st, 2020. Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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Mosques and places of worship in the UAE will be allowed to accommodate more people, under new rules announced during the weekly Covid-19 briefing on Tuesday.

Dr Saif Al Dhaheri, spokesman for the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority, said mosques will be allowed to reduce the physical distance between worshippers from two metres to 1.5 metres.

He also announced that up to 50 people can attend funerals and mourning services — double the previous number — if the death was not related to Covid-19.

Meanwhile, he said, a study carried out by the Ministry of Education found that the majority of parents want to see their children return to schools for in-person learning this year.

The study found that 73 per cent of parents wished to see children returning to classrooms, while 27 per cent preferred to continue with distance learning.

The briefing was told that there had been a three-fold increase in face-to-face learning this year.

“This year we had an increase in the number of face-to-face learning where the percentage has reached more than 37 per cent, in comparison with last year where it was only at 11 per cent," said Dr Al Dhaheri.

“It is also expected that these percentages will increase in the coming period with an increase in the number of vaccinated students.”

He said the latest statistics showed 36 per cent of pupils had been vaccinated and inoculations among education and support staff had reached 89.5 per cent.

“This is considered a positive indicator that shows to what extent there is willingness among people to take the vaccine and it increases the safety in our educational environment,” said Dr Al Dhaheri.

Officials said there would be free testing in all private and public schools for all vaccinated pupils and members of staff every 30 days — but it was not clear whether this would extend to the whole country.

Each of the emirates has set out its own rules in recent weeks.

Updated: September 08, 2021, 8:46 AM