Coronavirus: Abu Dhabi closes all cinemas, beaches and parks

The new measures are designed to halt the spread of Covid-19

Sharks on Sir Bani Yas beach.

Cultural Diplomacy Tour for a delegation of conservation experts from the United States, visit Sir Bani Yas.

(Photo: Reem Mohammed/The National)

Reporter: Anna Zacharias
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Update: Public parks in Abu Dhabi reopen after deep cleaning

Abu Dhabi has announced the closure of all cinemas, beaches and parks in the emirate.

The decision was made by a combination of authorities including the Department of Economic Development and the Abu Dhabi City Municipality.

In a statement, officials from the DED said the aim was to limit gatherings that “may be the cause of the transmission of infection”.

The move came on a day on which a host of new visa, flight, and tourist attraction restrictions were imposed in the emirate and elsewhere to counter the spread of Covid-19.

How to protect yourself against coronavirus

How to protect yourself against coronavirus

“In line with preventative measures for coronavirus, the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development directs all owners of cinema halls to temporarily suspend their activities until the end of March 2020 and not open their doors to provide services to the public,” a statement said.

Abu Dhabi City Municipality said all beaches and parks in the emirate would be closed "until further notice".

Earlier on Saturday, the UAE announced it would “temporarily suspend” issuing most visas into the country from Tuesday, March 17.

Authorities said only those with diplomatic passports would be exempt from the move, which came as governments around the world stepped up efforts to contain the coronavirus.

In a statement, the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship said it was responding to the World Health Organisation’s decision to designate the ongoing outbreak as a pandemic.

More than 145,000 cases of the virus have been recorded globally so far, with more than 5,000 deaths. More than 72,000 patients have recovered.

Also on Saturday, the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority announced it was halting all flights to and from Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Turkey from March 17 until further notice.

On Friday, the Emirates announced the suspension of flights to and from Italy, with the exception of flights from Rome.