UAE Covid-19 restrictions ease but face mask rules to stay in place

Public urged to maintain safety measures amid encouraging fall in infection rates

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The UAE public was hailed as the "cornerstone" of the UAE's recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic as a renewed plea was made for people to continue wearing face masks.

Authorities set out plans to ease some Covid-19 restrictions on Wednesday amid an encouraging drop in infection rates.

But people were told it was their duty to abide by key safety measures to help steer the country back to normality.

Capacity limits at shopping centres and other public places will be gradually lifted in the coming days, said Dr Saif Al Dhaheri, official spokesman for the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority.

At a coronavirus briefing he said the directives related to "various economic, tourist and recreational facilities, shopping centres and means of transport".

Dr Al Dhaheri said individual emirates would to allowed to set capacity limits for weddings and funerals.

The UAE's daily Covid-19 figures have declined markedly in recent weeks – from an 11-month high of 3,116 infections on January 15 to 1,538 on Wednesday.

But Dr Farida Al Hosani, a government health spokeswoman, said it was essential to stay vigilant in the face of the continued threat posed by the virus.

"We urge community members to adhere to the precautionary measures by wearing face masks, avoiding overcrowded places and constantly sanitising," she said.

"The health of our community is a priority and is everyone’s responsibility."

She spoke of the positive effects of the country's vaccination drive in helping to drive down infections.

Nearly 95 per cent of the public have received two vaccine doses, while a nationwide booster push is well under way.

The health of our community is a priority and is everyone’s responsibility
Dr Farida Al Hosani, government health spokeswoman

Dr Al Hosani cautioned against complacency, however.

"The vaccine is not a substitute for adhering to relevant precautionary measures, such as wearing face masks, respecting social distancing and sanitising, among other protocols," she said.

"The community’s awareness is the cornerstone of addressing the pandemic’s repercussions, so we highlight its importance and the pivotal role of community members in safeguarding the country’s achievements."

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Updated: February 10, 2022, 4:54 AM