Dubai places restrictions on hotels and hospitals as Covid-19 cases surge

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DUBAI (BLOOMBERG) – Dubai has ordered hotels and restaurants to put all entertainment activities on hold and is asking hospitals to cancel elective surgical procedures amid the biggest surge in coronavirus cases in the United Arab Emirates since the start of the pandemic.

Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing ordered a temporary halt to all entertainment activities from Thursday (Jan 21) until further notice after inspections showed “an increase in the number of violations”, it said in a circular.

The city’s health authority has also asked government and private hospitals to suspend “all elective therapeutic surgeries that require deep sedation or general anaesthesia”, according to a circular published on Wednesday.

The order comes into effect from midnight on Thursday until Feb 19 and could be extended.

The UAE is battling a surge in infections as tourists escaped lockdowns across Europe for the country’s sunny weather and beaches during the winter.

A travel corridor with Britain had also brought in scores of holidaymakers, but this was shut as cases spiked.

The UAE, of which Dubai is the second-largest city, has been conducting one of the world’s fastest inoculation programmes, with more than two million vaccine doses administered to a population of about 10 million people.

With almost 24 million tests conducted so far, the UAE has also led the way on testing per capita.

While infections have spiked, deaths remain low in a country made up largely of working age expatriates.

The country has reported about 264,000 infections and 762 deaths so far.

The UAE’s extensive vaccination campaign is especially key to the business hub of Dubai, whose economy relies on travel and tourism.

The emirate is home to more than three million people and aims to vaccinate 70 per cent of its residents by the year-end.

Meanwhile, the UAE aims to cover 50 per cent of its overall population by April.

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