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18 Mar 2020 | 07:36 AM UTC

UAE: Domestic restrictions implemented amid COVID-19 spread March 15 /update 10

Authorities implement domestic restrictions as COVID-19 spreads March 15; follow local directives

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Event

On Saturday, March 15, Emirati authorities announced domestic restrictions amid the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Tourist attractions and cultural sites in Abu Dhabi have been closed as of March 15. In Dubai, events have been suspended and entertainment destinations have been closed until at least Tuesday, March 31. The same applies to events and entertainment destinations in Ajman.

The country previously suspended the issuance of visas to all foreigners (except for diplomatic passport holders), since Tuesday, March 17.

As of Wednesday, March 18, there are 113 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.

Context

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.

Advice

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, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.