The people of the UAE are smart people, they understand our message and they comply with our recommendations.
That was the message from His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, communicated in a special press briefing on COVID-19 by Dr Farida Al Hosani, spokesperson for the UAE health sector, last week.
That message assumes critical significance in the wake of the 1,007 new coronavirus cases reported in the UAE on Saturday, the highest daily number of infections since the start of the pandemic.
For indulgences can wait, jostling for bargains in crowded shops can wait, working out at congested gyms can wait, socialising with dozens of people at home can wait – battling the virus cannot.
As repeatedly warned by the UAE authorities, flouting COVID-19 safety norms and social distancing rules doesn’t only endanger individuals and families, but ultimately also impacts business continuity and the economic prospects of millions of people in the UAE.
Let us all follow the rules – it really is quite simple.
Every one of us must strictly adhere to social distancing norms, wear masks and gloves and avoid mixing with people known to have the virus – which accounted for about 88% of the recent surge in cases. Even when mild symptoms appear, everyone must get tested for COVID-19.
Shopping malls, restaurants and offices must also strictly enforce all precautionary measures, such as capacity, physical distancing and mandatory wearing of masks. With the recent spate of fines and closures of cafes, shops and restaurants by various inspection agencies, the UAE has stepped up the vigil on those who attempt to break the safety protocols, and the message is loud and clear.
The reopening of businesses, offices and leisure facilities doesn’t mean that we can all become oblivious to the pandemic and go back to our old ways – it means that the UAE authorities are striving very hard to create a new-normal so that both lives and livelihoods can be sustained in a careful balancing of public health and economic health. It’s therefore in everyone’s interest to strongly support the authorities in this long and difficult battle against the virus – and we can only do it by assuming full responsibility for overcoming this resurgence.
This is now an obligation for each and every citizen and expat in the UAE, a mission where we simply cannot afford to slip up anymore.
Let history record that the UAE prevailed over the virus because the people of the UAE are smart people, they understood the message and they complied with the recommendations.