Dubai Covid-19 rules 'driven by data and experts – not foreign media coverage'

Dubai Tourism chief says there is a clear plan to deal with cases and keep economy open

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Covid-19 restrictions in Dubai are based on data and advice from health experts – and not hostile foreign media reports, a senior official said.

Helal Al Marri, director general of Dubai Tourism, said the city had a "clear plan" to deal with cases.

"We do look at this very carefully, sector by sector and sub sector to see where we need to tighten and where we need to lift restrictions," he told CNN Connect the World

He was asked about coverage from British newspapers in particular, which seized on how many celebrities holidayed in Dubai while their home country was on lockdown.

"All of the decisions related to public health are led by our health authority and our scientists sitting there. Whatever they recommend, we work with the private sector to make sure it is implemented in the best possible way," Mr Al Marri said.

“And that will continue. It’s nothing to do with what anyone else tells us because there is a very clear plan."

On Monday, the emirate imposed a series of restrictions to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Capacity was cut o 50 per cent in cinemas, entertainment and sports complexes. Hotels, swimming pools and malls are now allowed to admit a maximum 70 per cent of their capacity.

Restaurants and cafes are required to close by 1am and any venue classed as a "pub or bar" but that is not a restaurant has been closed.

The emirate also cancelled all non-urgent surgery, to help free up medics and equipment.

Last month, Omar Saif Ghobash, Assistant Minister for Culture and Public Diplomacy, said the country had found a way to balance economic needs and rising case numbers.

“It’s really about balancing personal responsibility, with an economy that needs to go forward," he said.