Stock shopping Dubai mall of the emirates
Shoppers at the Mall of the Emirates in Dubai. Image Credit: Antonin Kélian Kallouche/Gulf News

The loud and clear warning from top officials following a noticeable surge in coronavirus cases in the UAE every day is a cause of concern, and residents and citizens must take it seriously. In the past few days, the country has recorded a significant jump in coronavirus cases. The UAE, which has tested over six million people so far, has ramped up the screening in a big way.

On August 18, the first warning came from Abdul Rahman Bin Mohammed Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention, who urged people to adhere to precautionary measures and avoid family and social gatherings. He also cautioned gym-goers to practise social distancing, wear face masks and to disinfect hands before and after using equipment, and avoid group sports.

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Similarly, Saif Al Dhahri, the spokesman of the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) on Friday warned that night-time curfew might be imposed again in areas with high infection rates. The recent increase in new cases, he said, was due to leniency and failure to adhere to COVID-19 precautions strictly.

Days before the jump in cases, the COVID-19 was on the decline, and mass testing was throwing up fewer positives. This shows the unpredictable nature of the pandemic, a trend consistent with other parts of the world where a surge follows weeks of dip. The cause, however, is not hard to understand – careless and irresponsible behaviour of people who fail to comply with safety measures. The health authorities have no option but to reimpose restrictions that disrupt day-to-day life. One reckless individual is capable of infecting an entire family which can then spread the disease further. Therefore, it is the responsibility of all to remain on guard and protect their loved ones and others.

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The recent warnings by UAE officials were sounded weeks ahead of the planned opening of schools, an event that will test the robustness of safety protocols for the education sector. While a large section of parents has opted for distance learning, many will send their children to school. In view of the recent surge, parents must teach their children about safety precautions and explain to them about the disastrous consequences if they fail to protect themselves and others. The pandemic, in many countries, has followed an unpredictable pattern, baffling epidemiologists and health authorities. The responsibility, therefore, lies with people to remain on guard and strictly follow precautionary measures.