UAE official advises people not to travel over Christmas as global Covid cases rise

Dr Farida Al Hosani encouraged families to spend their holiday in the Emirates where possible

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Authorities in the UAE are urging citizens and residents to holiday at home this National Day and Christmas amid soaring Covid-19 cases abroad.

Dr Farida Al Hosani, a government health spokeswoman, said travel was allowed but not advised, given the high rates of infections overseas.

There are plenty of opportunities to travel, with a public holiday coming up at the end of next week to celebrate National Day and a three-week winter break for schools in December.

Covid-19 has not ended”, she said on Twitter on Wednesday.

“On the contrary, the increase in cases and deaths has returned in many countries due to poor vaccinations and negligence in procedures.

“Travelling is allowed, but travel with awareness and planning. Do not expose yourself and others to the complications of Covid-19 or the complications of the increase in cases that cause bans and closures. And don't fail to wear masks.”

She said people should stay in the UAE and enjoy its good weather instead.

“It is best to holiday inside the country and enjoy the beautiful weather and lovely places”, she said.

Europe is suffering from a deadly wave of new infections, leading some countries to reimpose strict restrictions to stem the spread of the virus.

This week Austria entered a lockdown. Germany has also experienced a surge in new cases, and the country's health minister has warned by the end of the winter “just about everyone in Germany will probably be either vaccinated, recovered or dead.”

In an Instagram post, Dr Farida said the decision on where to travel, if people still want to go abroad, should be made after an assessment of the Covid-19 situation in that country.

“Follow the news of this country. If there is a rise in the number of cases, I do not advise you to go. High cases may mean that this country will go through a period of instability and there may be decisions to close and ban. This will lead to other consequences,” she said.

“I do not advise you to travel to any country where there is any kind of ban, even if it is far from the areas to which you intend to travel.

“You must know that the instability of the cases in the country is a great danger and you must consider its consequences. Therefore, re-evaluate the situation and change the destination.”

She said other important factors to consider are:

  • The health of the traveller. “Am I or a member of my family one of the groups who are most vulnerable to travel complications? If one of them falls into this category, I advise you to review your priorities,” she wrote.
  • The purpose of travelling and the kind of events [to be attended]. “Leisure and tourism can be avoided because they are optional and can be postponed or replaced by better local destinations for the time being.”

Dr Farida’s advice came after the government said a third Covid-19 vaccine shot is necessary to protect “the well-being of residents” as countries across the globe are hit with new waves of infections.

A government spokesman at the weekly Covid-19 media briefing on Tuesday said new outbreaks were caused by low adherence to precautionary measures and a low uptake for vaccinations.

The UAE reached a milestone on Tuesday as the number of people fully vaccinated against Covid-19 exceeded 90 per cent of the population.

More than 99 per cent of people have received at least one dose.

The country’s high vaccination rate has caused the infection rate to plummet in recent weeks, with just 70 new cases of Covid-19 reported on Tuesday. No deaths were reported overnight for the eighth day in a row.

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Updated: November 25, 2021, 7:38 AM