Coronavirus: What can I still be fined for in UAE?

Numerous restrictions remain, from failing to wear a mask in public to having more than three people in a vehicle

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There has been a “significant increase” in fines issued for breaches of Covid-19 rules since the nationwide disinfection drive ended last week, according to authorities.

Salem Al Zaabi, acting director of Federal Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Prosecution, said the increase was a sign some residents were being reckless.

Speaking in a briefing on Saturday, he urged people to comply with the regulations or risk fines, which can run to tens of thousands of dirhams.

Penalties will be doubled for a repeat offence, while third-time offenders will be subject to legal action and could be jailed for up to six months or fined no less than Dh100,000.

But what are the rules? And how much are the penalties?

The National explains:

What fines are in place?

Gatherings of any kind in public or private, such as parties, are still banned. Small gatherings of up to five or 10 people, depending on the emirate, were allowed during Ramadan but this is no longer permitted.

Anyone found hosting a gathering or inviting people over could be fined Dh10,000. Those attending will each receive a Dh5,000 fine.

Other fines include Dh3,000 or having more than three people in a car. Family members of the same household are exempt from this rule.

Private tutors found to be teaching in homes will be fined Dh30,000, while the person who hosts the tutor will receive a Dh20,000 fine.

Anyone who fails to follow social distancing at shops or restaurants could be fined Dh3,000. The same fine applies to people who do not wear masks in public.

There is also a Dh3,000 fine for people who breach preventive measures while exercising or taking part in sports or recreational activities in public or at hotel pools or beaches. Public beaches are not yet open in Abu Dhabi.

Anyone caught transporting goods in a car not authorised for that purpose will be fined Dh5,000.

Tracing apps and quarantine

The highest fines relate to breaches involving the quarantine, treatment and monitoring of patients with Covid-19.

People receive a Dh50,000 fine for failing to comply with quarantine, either at home or in a facility, or not remaining in hospital or complying with treatment or tests.

Authorities will also issue a Dh10,000 fine to anyone who refuses to install or register for a smart tracking application, people who fail to carry the electronic tracking device during home quarantine and to those who lose or destroy it. The offender will also bear the cost of damages.

There are two apps in use in the UAE that are designed to restrict the spread of the virus. The Ministry of Health and Prevention's app, AlHosn, uses Bluetooth signals to detect if the carrier has come into contact with someone who has also uses the app and who may pose a risk of infection.

Anyone confirmed or suspected of having the virus must use it, as should people arriving in the country. But authorities encourage everyone to download it. It is available in three languages. Dubai also has its own version of a contact tracing app called Covid-19 DXB.

Anyone found to be hacking the applications or smart devices and/or illegally obtaining information from them will receive a Dh20,000 fine. The offender will also bear the cost of damages.

A fine of Dh10,000 fine will be issued to anyone who fails to notify authorities of a damaged or lost smart device within 24 hours.

People who visit a healthcare facility other than at a pre-arranged time or unnecessarily could be fined Dh1,000. The same fine applies to anyone who retakes a Covid-19 test within two weeks without a valid reason.