Twenty months into the coronavirus outbreak, the world over is yet to overcome the pandemic despite many positive developments, including the increasing pace of vaccination and the apparent recovery in the global economy.
The current rise in infection cases is mostly due to the highly contagious Delta variant, which was first detected in India in October last year. Today, this deadly strain is found in more than 130 countries, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The original virus itself, the novel SARS-CoV-2, is dangerous and highly transmissible, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the technical chief for Covid-19 at WHO told a media briefing last week. “The Delta variant is even more so — it is doubly more transmissible than the ancestral strain, it is 50 per cent more transmissible than the Alpha strain,” another deadly variant that was first discovered in the UK.
As of Sunday, the number of registered Covid-19 cases globally exceeded 212 million with more than 4.4 million deaths. Because of the Delta variant, there has been noticeable rise in cases even in places with high rate of vaccination. Experts note that people must stick to the basic, and effective precautionary measures such as face mask wearing, sanitisation and keeping the social distance.
With that in mind, the latest decision by the UAE Attorney-General, Dr. Hamad Saif Al Shamsi, to update and highlight the list of fines for violating the federal approved measures in the fight against the pandemic is a step in the right direction.
The updated list covers flouting the quarantine and e-tracing rules for those testing positive (ranges from Dh1,000 to Dh50,000), the face mask wearing guidelines (ranges from Dh1,000 to Dh5,000) in addition violations of working hours rules, the number of people in a car and not abiding by the instruction for those coming from abroad.
This is an important decision because the fight against the pandemic essentially requires that all members of the community do their part to ensure the mitigation of the virus risks, especially as we near the reopening of the school year. It is important that parents, schools and pupils themselves commit to the rules. Also, with more employees reporting to the workplace, vaccination and frequent testing will ensure a healthy environment for all.
The UAE is one of the highest fully vaccinated countries in the world. Absolutely. And there is a great deal of vigilance by relevant authorities to implement strict precautionary guidelines. But these guidelines will need the commitment of all citizens and residents in the path of overcoming the pandemic.