Restrictions to movement will be implemented in Dubai's al-Ras beginning Wednesday, March 31, as authorities will send sanitation staff to facilitate disinfection procedures to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The stay-at-home restrictions will remain in place for two weeks. Those who do not reside in the area will not be permitted to travel there during this time. The Al Ras, Palm Deira, and Baniyas Square metro stations will be closed. Media reports indicate that the Dubai Health Authority will provide all essential goods and supplies for residents in the area during that period.
As of Monday, March 30, fines will go into effect nationwide for those that do not comply with stay-at-home orders designed to curb the COVID-19 spread. Those who leave their homes outside of curfew hours without legitimate or pre-approved reason will face fines of USD 544. Those violating the curfew, between 20:00 and 06:00 (local time), could be fined up to USD 13,600. These fines apply to the a nationwide curfew in place until Sunday, April 5, while a general sterilization campaign is held to control the spread of COVID-19. As such, all movement between 20:00 and 06:00 will remain restricted; public transportation will be suspended during curfew hours. Employees of certain sectors are exempt, including police, the army, and medical staff. Those found in violation of the curfew may be subject to fines.
Following this period, measures implemented on Wednesday, March 25, closing commercial centers, malls, and open markets for two weeks, will likely resume. Restaurants were ordered to exclusively offer take-out services. In addition, all international flights will be suspended for the same period.
As of March 30, there are 570 COVID-19 cases and three associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.