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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 28 February 2021

Abu Dhabi to exempt service industry workers from PCR tests after Covid-19 vaccination

Employers who do not vaccinate their staff must bear the cost of the regular PCR tests, Department of Economic Development said

Service industry workers in Abu Dhabi will no longer have to get regular PCR tests once they take a Covid-19 vaccine.

The decision covers all employees in restaurants, coffee shops, supermarkets, bakeries, groceries, malls, commercial centres, butcheries, vegetable and fruit retailers.

Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (Added) set out the move in a post on Instagram.

It said any business that does not have a vaccinated workforce must continue to have staff screened for the virus every 14 days.

Those businesses must also cover the cost of the tests, which is about Dh85 per person in government-run screening centres.

The Sinopharm vaccine is free and available across the capital and other emirates.

The new decision comes into force on January 10, the department said.

The owners of the economic establishments in the emirate are directed "to conduct all their workers’ PCR examination every 14 days, and the establishments must bear the test fees, with an exemption for the workers who received the Covid-19 vaccine, which is available for free in the vaccination centres”, it said.

“These directions are in line with the Covid-19 preventative measures issued by relative authorities in Abu Dhabi, and aim to create a safe and healthy environment while limiting the effects of the pandemic.”

Sinopharm vaccine is available to everyone in the UAE and it's free.

It was approved for public use by regulators on December 9 after Phase 3 trials found it was 86 per cent effective against the virus.

That is slightly higher than the rate claimed by Sinopharm recently, at 79.34 per cent.

An executive of China National Biotec Group (CNBG), which developed the vaccine, said the different efficacy results quoted are both “real and valid”.

Yang Xiaoming, chairman at Sinopharm unit’s CNBG said countries have different standards and procedures in diagnosing patients, and the final results of Covid-19 case identification were different.

“Therefore, there were differences between the comprehensive multi-country data we reviewed and the protection rate data previously evaluated by the UAE and Bahrain,” Mr Xiaoming told the Global Times, a Chinese newspaper.

“But these two results are both real and valid.”

China recently approved Sinopharm’s vaccine, the first jab developed by CNBG to receive the green light for widespread use in the country.

China is planning to vaccinate 50 million people against the coronavirus before the peak Chinese New Year travel season begins.

Updated: January 4, 2021 02:21 PM

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