Coronavirus: Dubai shuts down Metro until further notice

Red and green lines will not reopen on Sunday morning – but local taxis cut fares by 50 per cent

Commuters, some wearing protective face masks, ride the metro in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Thursday, March 5, 2020. The Middle East’s travel and business hub has called on citizens and residents to avoid travel due to the coronavirus risk. Photographer: Christopher Pike/Bloomberg

Latest: Dubai to impose new restrictions on travel and shopping

Dubai's metro closed from Sunday morning as the authorities took precautions to tackle the rising number of coronavirus cases.

The red and green lines were suspended and 49 stations closed until further notice. The tram was also shut down.

From 8pm on Saturday, the city imposed a stricter curfew that means only one person from each household can leave home to buy essentials. Masks and gloves must be worn at all times and the authorities gave a warning they would fine or prosecute anyone found outside without good reason.

Dubai's Road Transport Authority cut public taxi fares by 50 per cent to allow for essential journeys. Drivers can only be directed to go to supermarkets, pharmacies and hospitals.

Commuters in essential sectors may also use them to get to their workplace.

"The measures aim to help members of the public who need to leave their homes for essential purposes and those who work in vital sectors," said Mattar Al Tayer, director general of the transport authority.

On Saturday, the government told residents to wear masks at all times when outside their homes to prevent the spread of the virus.

The message came as 241 new Covid-19 cases were confirmed, taking the total to 1,505.

The death of an Arab national, aged 53, took the death toll to 10. Seventeen more people recovered, for a total of 125.

Dr Farida Al Hosani, spokeswoman for the country's health sector, said even homemade masks offered some protection against spreading germs.

"When I wear a mask I'm protecting you and when you wear it, you're protecting me," she said.

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