Coronavirus: UAE announces 563 new Covid-19 cases

The cases were identified after a further 38,000 tests were carried out across the country

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The UAE announced 563 new cases of Covid-19 on Thursday, taking the country's total number to 32,532.

The cases were identified after a further 38,000 tests were carried out across the country. More than 2 million Covid-19 tests have been conducted in the Emirates since the outbreak.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention said 314 patients had recovered since Wednesday and three died. The figures bring the country's total to 16,685 recoveries and 258 deaths since the first cases were announced in late January.

This week, authorities said the increase in cases was due to non-compliance with physical distance measures.

UAE workers share stories of Covid-19 recovery

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"A large number of cases are due to mixing and gatherings … thus we stress all must avoid gatherings and to avoid crowded places," said Dr Amna Al Dhahak, spokeswoman for the health sector.

"The next phase requires awareness, precautions and responsibility. Today, we are all responsible."

The UAE has steadily begun easing restrictions to allow businesses to resume economic activities.

Dubai eased movement restrictions on Wednesday with the stay home order shortened to 11pm to 6am.

Under the more relaxed rules, up to half of staff at Dubai companies are allowed to return to their workplaces and cinema, gyms and entertainment centres including ice rinks have been reopened.

Non-essential medical services, such as routine trips to the dentist, are also now allowed.

Measures to contain the spread of coronavirus, which has infected almost 5.7 million and killed over 350,000 globally, began being implemented across the UAE in March.

Flights were suspended and the country's borders closed to everyone but Emiratis in an effort to slow the infection rate. Non-essential businesses were closed and employees were told to work from home whenever possible.

At one point, Dubai, which has a population of more than 3 million, had the strictest regulations with residents requiring an online permit from police to leave home to buy essentials from supermarkets and pharmacies.

This 24-hour stay home order lifted after authorities found residents and Emiratis to be compliant with safety measures.

On Thursday, authorities in Ras Al Khaimah said malls and public beaches could reopen.

Beauty salons and barbershops in the emirate will also resume operations with strict safety measures in place to protect customers from the spread of the virus.

But authorities have warned that the resumption of activities is not an indication that the pandemic is over.

"Each individual is responsible for their safety, the safety of their family and their surroundings by adhering to applying physical distancing, wearing face masks and also using PPE," said Dr Al Dhahak.

“Resuming business is very important … reopening does not mean lifting the precautionary measures, they are there to stay."