Coronavirus: Social gatherings limited to 10 family members, says UAE authority

Updated regulations lay out safety measures for social gatherings and funerals

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Social gatherings must not exceed 10 family members and safety measures must be upheld, UAE authorities said on Friday.

Small gatherings are permitted but authorities recommended that the first-degree relatives in attendance be tested for Covid-19 24-hours prior to the event.

Physical distancing of two metres must be maintained and hosts are required to remind their guests to regularly wash their hands.

The updated regulations, governing social gatherings amid Covid-19, were announced by the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority, in co-ordination with the Ministry of Health and Prevention, on Twitter.

They are designed to prevent the spread of the virus and safeguard the public.

Under the rules, buffets are banned and all food should be served using disposable crockery. Surfaces must be continuously sanitised, the notice from authorities said.

Non-compliance with these safety measures will lead to penalties and fines, in accordance with the laws issued by the UAE Attorney General.

Measures for all social events include mandatory physical distancing. Those invited must monitor their health and refrain from attending, should they develop flu-like symptoms. The organiser must also dedicate a separate room to isolate anyone who may display symptoms of sickness during the gathering.

Hosts must remind their guests to frequently wash their hands and explain sneezing or coughing etiquette.

The notice advised that the elderly and people with chronic illnesses not attend any social gatherings.

The regulations also included new rules on funerals, limiting the number of people in attendance and detailing sanitary requirements.

Staff at cemeteries must wear face masks while a funeral is being held. Tools used throughout the funeral must be disinfected before and after each service and those in attendance must wash their hands frequently. In the absence of water, sanitising gel containing at least 60 per cent alcohol should be used.

No more than 10 people may attend a funeral and just two people are permitted to take part in the burial. No more than six people can help carry the body.

The notice said staff must disclose any symptoms of sickness to their supervisors and refrain from coming into work if feeling unwell.

Safety awareness signs must be put up at cemeteries and staff must brief family members on the measures prior to a funeral.

Inspectors will monitor funerals to ensure safety measures are being upheld and security guards on site will help prevent gatherings.