The United Arab Emirates recorded 80,000 more cases of Covid-19 in January, bringing the total number of people affected to 290,000. Every day, more than 4,000 new patients are diagnosed. Hospitals across the country are starting to fear saturation, CNN reported on Saturday.
This upsurge in cases came as the number of visitors rose sharply to the country. Thousands of tourists have spent the end of the year celebrations in Dubai, especially to escape curfews, lockdowns and other health measures put in place elsewhere. Posts posted from the United Arab Emirates have multiplied on social networks, showing the protagonists enjoying the sun, having fun and eating out.
Restrictions put in place
Local authorities say, however, that sufficient precautions are being taken against the coronavirus while insisting on the need not to cripple activity. “Our philosophy is to continue working during the pandemic,” explained Dubai Tourism and Commercial Marketing General Manager Helal Saeed Al Marri. He felt that drastic rules would be counterproductive.
The health authorities have nevertheless taken decisions to counter the increase in contamination. Bars have been closed since February 2. Beach establishments, shopping malls and hotels can only accommodate 70% of the maximum number of customers their premises allow.
The influx of tourists is not, however, the only factor explaining the peak of Covid-19 cases in Dubai, explains CNN. Indeed, 85% of residents are expatriates. Many have returned to their countries for the holidays or to have participated in celebrations in the Emirate.
Doctor Ahmed Mohamed Abdelhameed also recalled that many other countries that have applied more stringent measures have experienced a similar increase.