Coronavirus: Dubai Police arrest woman for defying safety precautions

The woman shared a video on Instagram mocking the #StayHome campaign and encouraging the public to defy government advice

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Dubai Police have arrested a woman after she posted a video encouraging people to ignore government advice to stay home during the coronavirus outbreak.

The European national, of Arab origin, shared an Instagram story of herself and a friend out in Dubai. In the video, she says she plans to continue ignoring the UAE's #StayHome campaign to go running and encourages others to join her.

On Tuesday, police said the woman was now facing legal action and had been referred to the Federal Public Prosecution for Information Technology Crimes.

"Dubai Police stresses the importance of residents fully complying with directives issued by authorities to safeguard public health. Inciting non-compliance with safety measures will lead to imprisonment and/or a fine of between Dh200,000 and Dh1 million," police said on Twitter.

It was the second such arrest by police in Dubai this week.

On Sunday, police arrested a European man for ignoring a nationwide ban on visiting public beaches and mocking measures to protect public safety amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

The European man, believed to be a personal trainer, posted a video on Instagram of himself and a friend at Marina Beach in Jumeirah Beach Residence.

Police said the man "ignored the instructions of a police patrol while mocking precautionary measures issued by health and official authorities".

The UAE has introduced increasingly strict measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The country has reported 248 cases of coronavirus and 45 recoveries. Two people have died since the UAE reported its first case in January.

Authorities have repeatedly appealed for the public to stay home unless absolutely necessary, and to practise social distancing.

The UAE Attorney General, Dr Hamad Al Shamsi, warned that anyone caught not adhering to the precautionary measures or found to be breaking self-isolation would face legal action.