UAE disinfection drive hours reduced to 10pm to 6am for Ramadan

Shops and pharmacies can remain open for 24 hours under new guidelines

Stay at home orders have been reduced by two hours, from 10pm to 6am, for the duration of Ramadan.

On Thursday, UAE authorities said the national disinfection drive would be carried out over the eight-hour period, when people should stay indoors except in case of emergency.

Currently, the disinfection campaign is carried out from 8pm to 6am in every emirate but Dubai, where a 24-hour stay home order is in place. As of Thursday night, it was not yet clear if the new campaign hours would apply to Dubai nor if permits would still be needed to leave home for necessities.

The National Crisis and Emergency Management Authority said supermarkets, food outlets, pharmacies and co-operative societies in the remaining emirates could remain open for 24-hours a day throughout the holy month.

Shops that can open between 6am to 10pm include bakeries, butchers, coffee and tea houses, and chocolate, sweet and nuts sellers. Customers cannot exceed 30 per cent capacity at any time.

Authorities stressed the need to wear a mask at all times when leaving home and called on the public to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

They urged the public not to gather throughout Ramadan - for iftar or suhoor - and to adhere to the rules put in place by the UAE Fatwa Council.

Other measures will remain in place, a spokesman from the Ministry of Interior told The National.

People should only leave their homes to buy essentials, there can be no more than three people in a private car at any time and at least two metres must be maintained between individuals.

He said the reduction in hours should not make a dramatic difference to people.

"People are already abiding by the rules and the rules will remain the same.

"We do not expect a rush around iftar time because now people have two extra hours after iftar, and they have all day to run their errands from 6am to 10pm, so there is no reason for more rush."

Asked if he expected cases to Covid-19 to increase as a result of the slackening measures, including a plan to reopen businesses and malls, the spokesman said no.