Wednesday marked a milestone in Dubai as business activities resumed for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic containment measures were imposed three months ago.
Under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council announced on Monday the gradual reopening of business activities in Dubai from 27 May. According to the new rules, there is no restrictions on movement between 6.00am and 11.00pm.
The new rules are accompanied with new detailed guidelines aimed at protecting the public safety in every aspect of life in the emirate.
The ultimate responsibility, as the country gradually resumes normal life, rests with us. We all have to be responsible in taking care of ourselves and families by following the health guidelines
For example, offices are now allowed to have a 50 per cent staffing level, up from the previous 30 per cent ceiling. Mall hours are extended and recreation facilities such as cinemas, health clubs and sport academies are now open.
But stringent health guidelines are put in place including mandatory temperature screening for staff and visitors to all commercial outlets, mandatory installation of contactless hand sanitiser dispensers at all common areas, social distancing, home and institutional quarantine for returning UAE residents.
Sterilisation and use of disposables in restaurants, and in business offices, all elevators must have markings on the floor that indicate social distancing. These are some of the guidelines we have to abide by to protect ourselves, families and society.
The move is similar to those taken by other countries and cities around the world to resume economic activities and gradually return to normal life. But it doesn’t mean that COVID-19 outbreak is over.
The virus threat is well and alive, and continues to claim thousands of lives around the world. In addition, it not yet clear when the crisis will end. But the hopes are high that the world will soon find a cure.
Meanwhile, the number of cases will continue to rise in the UAE and elsewhere. But the difference now and three or two months ago is the level of preparedness to deal with the rise in infections.
Few months ago, when lockdowns and extreme containment measures were imposed, the goal was to contain the spread of the virus and to avoid sudden overwhelming of the medical facilities.
Now, health protocols are in place, medical staff has gained experience in dealing with the infection, and hospitals are ready to treat the sick. The UAE way of handling of the outbreak has already won international praise.
However, the ultimate responsibility, as the country gradually resumes normal life, rests with us. We all have to be responsible in taking care of ourselves and families by following the health guidelines.