Coronavirus: Authorities urge people to avoid family visits and gatherings during Eid Al Fitr

UAE starts distribution of Hayat-Vax vaccine

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The National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority has outlined the Covid-19 safety precautions for Eid Al Fitr.

Dr Saif Al Dhaheri, official spokesman for the authority, said people should avoid family visits and gatherings during Eid Al Fitr, limiting them to members of the family living in the same household.

Dr Al Dhaheri said the holiday prayer time would be limited to 15 minutes, including the khutbah, or sermon, and all precautionary measures such as wearing masks and physical distancing must be adhered to.

Mosques will open 15 minutes before Eid prayers and close after khutbah.

Dr Al Dhaheri said all those in contact with Covid-19 patients, and those suffering from chronic diseases are not allowed to attend the Eid prayers.

He said gatherings and shaking hands before and after prayer are prohibited, with people advised to greet each other from a distance.

Those aged over 60 years and children under 12 are also advised to avoid going to the Eid prayers.

“Authorities and the volunteers will be monitoring the entrance and the exit to the players in order to avoid having a crowd at the entrance and exit,” Dr Al Dhaheri said.

He advised people to give online presents as eidiya to children.

Hayat-Vax distribution 

Meanwhile, the UAE started the distribution of the Hayat-Vax, which is the locally produced version of Sinopharm's vaccine.

Production of the vaccine began in March this year, with plans to increase it to 2 million doses a month.

Dr Farida Al Hosani, official spokeswoman for the health sector, said the UAE would become the regional distribution base for the vaccine.

She said almost three quarters of the UAE’s population had been vaccinated, as the country moved closer towards its goal of achieving herd immunity.

“We have vaccinated more than 72.3 per cent of the qualified category for the vaccine; that is all those who are above 16 years,” Dr Al Hosani said.

“We have vaccinated 79.3 per cent of the elderly, and that is all those 60 and above.

"This category specifically has been given a priority because it is the most vulnerable to contracting the virus and its complications.”

The UAE has administered more than 11 million doses of vaccine.

Dr Al Hosani said the ministry received several inquiries about people taking a second vaccine.

"We would like to draw your attention to the fact that there are no studies regarding the efficacy of taking more than a brand of a vaccine at the time being," she said.

"This requires further in-depth future studies, so we are monitoring all the international studies ... providing you with the latest on the topic, whenever available.

"At the time being, we advise those who have received two doses of Covid-19 vaccine not to take any other type of vaccine, just to ensure their health and wellness."