The end of movement restrictions and the national disinfection programme in the UAE is the culmination of months of relentless efforts by the government, crisis management authorities and frontline health care workers in close cooperation with public institutions, businesses and the general public to battle the coronavirus pandemic.
Thanks to their sustained and well-coordinated efforts, the UAE has successfully reopened almost all major facets of its economy ahead of most other countries with similar number of cases.
People can now watch a movie at the cinemas, go to a park or a long-drive in their family car, catch up on some retail shopping at malls with children in tow, enjoy their favourite meal at a restaurant and visit tourist hot spots around the country.
UAE has successfully reopened almost all major facets of its economy ahead of most other countries with similar number of cases
Businesses can once again welcome back customers to their premises; schools can prepare for students to return possibly in September, and the country can get ready to welcome the first post-Covid tourists in a couple of weeks.
While citizens and residents across the UAE will surely cherish the return of free movement, it does not mean we go back to the careless practices of pre-pandemic days. In Abu Dhabi, for instance, an entry ban in force due to its sterilisation drive will continue.
Adhere to precautions
Around the UAE, everyone must adhere to stringent Covid-19 precautions — including social distancing and wearing masks, and violators will face the full force of penalties.
The underlying message for everyone is very simple: even though movement restrictions have been lifted, the Covid-19 outbreak is still here and new cases continue to be reported every day. It’s vital to resume economic activities in the country, but we must always remember that the virulent virus is still lurking around us.
Therefore, whatever you do in the coming days and weeks, be responsible. For yourself, your family, friends, colleagues at work and the society that you inhabit.
It’s equally important that we don’t delude ourselves about the future: the road back to normality will be long and challenging, and people and businesses will each respond to it in their own ways as necessary, with one common thread: we must all proceed with caution, empathy and understanding.
The strategies deployed by the UAE in fighting the pandemic have shown us how to handle those challenges, and the new normal that we return to today is the successful result of adopting those measures.
With the UAE announcing the world’s first phase III clinical trial of a COVID-19 vaccine in cooperation with Chinese pharma giant CNBG, the future is also full of hope.
The UAE’s global and national role in fighting the pandemic offers vital lessons in leadership during a crisis. With the reopening of the country, the responsibility is now on all of us to continue to fulfil that role and work together for a safe and secure future, while remembering that it’s only the movement restrictions that have gone — not the virus.