Coronavirus: Eight arrested as UAE police raid three weddings

The packed events had far more guests than the 10 people allowed in any single private gathering

Eight people have been jailed for organising weddings in breach of strict protocols on public gatherings to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The illegal celebrations took place at various locations across the country, the Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Prosecution division said.

Action was taken against wedding organisers as attending guests were not first degree relatives, as per allowances under new rules governing the staging of public events.

Prosecutors said those attending had scant regard for protective measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, with guests flouting face-masks and social distancing rules.

Two incidents occurred in Abu Dhabi with another was reported to have taken place in Ras Al Khaimah.

The eight unnamed people arrested have been detained while investigations continue and face a fine of at least Dh10,000 and possible prison term.

On Monday, Ras Al Khaimah police said they had arrested a man for posting an online video of himself and wedding guests celebrating openly in breach of restrictions.

Weddings venues in the emirate reopened in July subject to a set of strict hygiene measures, with Abu Dhabi and Dubai following suit, although guest lists are restricted to 10.

In Abu Dhabi, police were called to a villa where an illegal wedding reception was taking place.

Although officials did not disclose how many guests were in attendance, police did state the bridegroom, his father and the father of the bride were all facing legal action and hefty fines.

Other safety measures in place include compulsory wearing of facemarks by brides and grooms, all wedding guests and employees of the hosting venue.

Social distancing must be adhered to at all times during ceremonies with temperature checks carried out on arrival.

The Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Prosecution Office appealed for the public to refer to updated regulations in place to limit the spread of Covid-19.

“The Public Prosecution will take all legal measures against anyone who does not adhere to the measures and instructions related to limiting the spread of Covid-19,” a statement said.

“These measures aim to protect the health and safety of members of the UAE community and support government efforts to contain the repercussions of this pandemic on various aspects of health, economic and social life.”

In Saturday’s government briefing, officials reported one death as a result of complications from the virus and 809 new cases detected from 103,124 tests.

The UAE has reported a total of 84,242 cases in the country to date.

Police found this wedding marquee set up outside a villa in Abu Dhabi last week. Gatherings of more than 10 people are not allowed. Courtesy: Abu Dhabi Police