Dubai: Residents are slowly but surely going out as the city is transitioning to a “new normal” with the reopening of businesses and commercial establishments, including cinemas, gyms and some educational centres, on Wednesday.
The easing of movement restrictions means getting back on the road for Filipino expat Ferdinand Fraga, 41, who works as a tourist driver.
“Though tourists are not yet back, I’m confident they will return soon and I’m really excited to get back to my job,” Fraga, who was on a pause for almost two months, told Gulf News.
“I live near Dubai Airport and I was emotional when I saw planes back in the skies and now I’m thrilled to see the revival of the city’s economy. Just this morning, I saw more people at the Rashidiya Metro Station,” he added.
Business people are likewise very optimistic. Kamal Vachani, group director of Almaya Group, said: “I am very happy that the easing will further boost the confidence in Dubai’s economy. Personally, I am planning to visit the malls and go out for dinner with my family, and even invite a few of our close friends. And of course, we will follow physical distancing and other safety measures.”
Shamsa Khalifa Al Marri, communication and media senior specialist at Dubai Judicial Institute, also welcomed Dubai’s move back to normalcy.
“Personally for me, I believe it is a crucial moment as we are now allowed to go out and get a breath of fresh air, while still taking into account precautionary measures. This move is important to people’s mindset as well as the emirate’s economy,” she said.
Shamsa, however, pointed out there are still a lot of her friends and family members who are hesitant to go out, especially those at risk and with low immunity.
Habeeb Rahman KP, who works as a client servicing executive at Prodesign Advertising, for his part said: “I feel a bit relieved with the changes but I am still reluctant to go out for things other than my necessities till life fully gets back to the way it used to be.”
“I’m extra cautious whenever I go out to buy groceries or for other necessities and it was having a big psychological toll on me. I am also waiting and praying like everybody else for things to go back to normal as soon as possible,” he added.
Dr Vishnu Chaitanya Swaroopa Sura, specialist internal medicine at Medeor Hospital–Dubai, said everyone must be extra-cautious and vigilant when outside their homes.
She said: “Although UAE is one of the foremost countries in testing, tracing and treating COVID-19 infected patients in the world, it is too early for us to believe that we are completely out of risk. We must be extra-cautious and vigilant while venturing out for jobs and other activities.”
Everyone should be a responsible person, she pointed out.
“The government categorically emphasises that social distancing norms must be followed. This is crucial in reducing the spread of the virus. Young children, particularly those below 12 and elderly people above 60, must not venture out at any cost. They must continue to stay home unless it is very essential,” she explained.
Dr Vishnu also advised everyone to wear face masks and sanitise their hands regularly, particularly those taking public transport.
“Even at the office, social distancing norms should be practised to the possible extent. One must disinfect the workspace dutifully and must be mindful of maintaining a safe distance while having interactions with colleagues. Also, we have to be responsible while sneezing or coughing. We must always cover our mouth and nose and should not use our hands,” she added.
“Most of the infected patients show mild symptoms or the majority of them are asymptomatic. We witness similar cases in hospitals daily. This means that even a person seemingly healthy can be infected and can transmit the disease. So, we must not sidestep in taking precautions wherever we go,” she continued.
Furthermore, people should not throw masks and gloves irresponsibly or reuse those meant for one-time use. Those going to the gym or the cinema must avoid touching any surfaces unnecessarily. It is the responsibility of every individual to stay safe and keep others safe from infections,” Dr Vishnu added.