Expo 2020 Dubai: country participants urged to join vaccination drive

Free vaccinations are available for all official representatives of the countries taking part in Expo 2020 Dubai

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The steering committee of the Expo 2020 Dubai urged all participants to join its vaccination drive to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

Last month, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, announced free vaccinations for all expo participants and their staff.

"Health and safety is a pivotal part of the planning and operations for all world expos and the ongoing global pandemic has put this more sharply into focus,” said Manuel Salchli, chair of the Expo 2020 Steering Committee and Commissioner General for Switzerland at Expo 2020.

“It is very important that all official participants should benefit from the UAE’s generous offer to vaccinate their delegations and it is the collective responsibility of all the countries to support this initiative to ensure an enjoyable and safe expo for all participants."

Last Tuesday, delegates representing 173 countries and 24 international organisations participated in expo’s sixth international participants' meeting, which was held by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.

The meeting was the final one ahead of the opening of expo later this year.

"The world is recovering ... and we are ready to welcome 190 countries to the world's greatest event,” Sheikh Mohammed tweeted.

Organisers of the expo had said they were also positive about welcoming millions, as more people around the world get inoculated.

"We are hopeful that in the next five months we are going to see a better and stronger overall picture," Reem Al Hashimy, director general of Expo 2020 Dubai Bureau and UAE Minister of State for International Co-operation, said in an interview.

“With a strong vaccination rollout in different parts [of the world] we are actually beginning to see finally the strong impact of vaccination and reduced ... prevalence of disease in society.”

While vaccination will be mandatory for the expo workforce, it is being encouraged, but not enforced, for visitors and tourists.

Ms Al Hashimy said testing would be in place for visitors at various stages.

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