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Dubai: In a special press briefing on COVID-19 updates in UAE, Dr Farida Al Hosani, spokesperson for the health sector in the UAE, communicated to the public a message from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, saying, "People of UAE are smart people, they understand our messages and they comply with our recommendations."

Dr Farida continued by saying that "the recovery equation is very easy. As a community, if we commit to precautions and guidelines the infection rates will decrease."

One of the main reasons for the rise in the number of daily cases, according to Dr Farida, is the lack of commitment shown by some people to adhere to the safety guidelines and protocols.

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People are not wearing masks and not taking any protective measures while going out, and are indulging in social gatherings at homes and restaurants.

She cited an example of the man who was not adhering to the preventive measures and infected 45 members of his family and friends around him, one of them was an old lady who passed away from complications of infection.

Dr Farida added that another issue is the failure of malls, shops and public facilities to stick to precautionary measures, such as the shop capacity, physical distancing, and mandatory wearing of masks, all of which contributed to the recent increase in the number of cases.

The Economic Department in Dubai has closed down a department store and issued a Dh50,000 fine after it was found breaking precautionary measures against COVID-19, notably physical distancing, during a discount sale launched recently.

Many people are ignoring symptoms when they appear and choose not to go for COVID-19 test but continue to mix with others. Any mild symptom should be tested and should not be taken lightly, she warned.

Dr Farida also said that the leniency and negligence of a number of private educational institutions in the country, and their failure to implement social distancing and isolation measures and suspend studies for a period of 14 days after discovering cases at their institutions, has also contributed to rise in the numbers of infections.

Going Forward

The National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority has begun to tighten supervision and inspection, and violators of the preventive measures will be held accountable, whether individuals, commercial centers or restaurants, she added.

Dr Farida implied that the recovery formula is very easy, as a community we commit ourselves to precautions and guidelines, then the infection rates will decrease.

Adding that each person who gets in contact with a positive case must apply quarantine protocols, and should not rely on the negative test results as an excuse to return to normal life. 14 days of quarantine have to take place and a negative test at end of these 14 days is a must.

The incubation period for the virus may last up to 14 days, and the negative test result on the 14th day of contact is the basis for the decision to leave the quarantine can be made.

Families are adviced to stay away from holding big gatherings as part of celebrations. They should restrict them to a very limited number of immediate family members and should take all preventive measures.

The official emphasized that the gradual opening of commercial institutions and schools should not be linked to the increase in cases, as the UAE government has put in place all the precautionary measures and requirements before opening them. It is mandatory that the individuals and institutions responsible should strictly follow the guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infections.

Violators in Dubai to be fined heavily

Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management, headed by Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, called on the community and public and private sector entities to ensure comprehensive compliance with COVID-19 precautionary measures outlined by authorities.

Stressing the need for rigorous adherence to preventive measures at its meeting held on Thursday, the Committee said the emphasis on compliance is aligned with the directives of the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) to ensure sustained efforts to build on the progress achieved in combating the pandemic.

The Supreme Committee said visitors to malls, restaurants, commercial outlets and public indoor areas must strictly follow the preventive measures set out by the Government of Dubai and its frontline authorities to protect the health and safety of the community.

The Committee stressed that the law pertaining to precautionary measures will be strictly enforced and fines will be imposed in accordance with the list of penalties for violating preventive guidelines issued by the UAE Cabinet. Individuals not wearing a face mask inside public facilities, as well as restaurants and malls violating rules will face penalties according to the list. Inspections will be intensified, and anyone failing to comply with rules and preventive guidelines will be subject to fines.