Majority of residents in the UAE have expressed their full trust and confidence in the country’s handling of the pandemic with over 9 out of 10 residents stating that the country is well on its way to normalcy.
Statistics from the Ministry of Community Development (MoCD) revealed a significant rise on optimism levels among community members to 94 per cent in August 2021, a 60% difference compared to the wary public perception at 34 per cent in April 2020.
In addition, public confidence in UAE government’s COVID-19 countermeasures has improved drastically from lows of 25 percent in April 2020 to 95 per cent as of August 2021 – marking a 70 per cent increase since the pandemic began.
Nasser Al Zaabi, Official Spokesperson of the MoCD, stated that these statistics reflect the efficiency and effectiveness of the government’s step-by-step plan to achieve the delicate balance of preserving public health and the gradual reopening of its public spaces to drive the country’s economy to an upward swing.
“Under the framework of the strategic index, entitled, “Optimism about Living Conditions,” we concluded that we have achieved positive results in terms of increasing the community’s confidence in the country’s recovery levels,” said Al Zaabi.
Al Zaabi added that the UAE has proven to the world its success in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, fulfilling the national and community objective set by the UAE leadership. Thus far, the UAE has achieved its goal to be one of the first countries to recover from the pandemic – as shown in its efforts to maintain low numbers of COVID-19 cases as it slowly reopens public spaces to full capacity.
Studies conducted by MOCD reveal more UAE residents are now open to returning to normalcy and full capacity for public spaces. Nine out of 10 residents (90%) support the gradual return to mosques and other places of worship, nearly 8 out of 10 residents (79%) endorse the full return of employees to workplaces while over 7 out of 10 residents (73%) believe that the country has done its preparations to welcome students back to face-to-face learning.
A combination of comprehensive preventive measures, as well as countrywide vaccination and massive COVID-19 screening has thrusted the UAE to be one of the world’s exemplary nations in combatting the spread of the coronavirus.
Statistics from Our World in Data showed that the UAE is currently on top of the vaccination chart, with 78.50 percent fully vaccinated eligible members of the population. To date, the UAE has already provided 19,073,549 doses of its approved COVID-19 vaccines to the public, including booster shots.
Dr. Farida Al Hosani, spokesperson of the UAE’s health sector, thanked the public’s continuous adherence to the government’s COVID-19 measures as well as the rapid response dedication of the country’s frontliners that brought the country’s active COVID-19 cases on a downward trend.
“The health sector has harnessed its efforts and capabilities in terms of research and clinical trials to ensure vaccine efficacy. Today, we have achieved satisfactory and safe results in terms of national vaccine distribution rates. Therefore, we appreciate the public’s trust in the work of the health sector,” said Al Hosani. Dr. Al Hosani also thanked the public’s commitment to getting vaccinated.
“Community coherence is currently essential, and we all must adhere to relevant precautionary measures. We have returned to workplaces, our children have returned to schools, and the capacities of businesses have increased, proving the country’s strategic balance succeeded in reaching the recovery period. We appreciate your commitment and sense of awareness, and we urge you to continue supporting the country’s efforts to contain the virus,” said Al Hosani.
Expo is pushing through
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, made rounds at the Expo 2020 site several times prior to the opening of the Expo that will take place in a few weeks’ time.
His Highness’ visits reaffirmed the UAE’s readiness to welcome the global community to Expo 2020 Dubai, with only weeks to go before doors open to the world’s largest cultural event.
“We look forward to receiving delegations from 191 countries as well as businesses, multilateral organisations and educational institutions, who will join in the making of a better tomorrow for humanity. Amid this critical phase in the history of mankind, Expo 2020 Dubai will provide a unique opportunity for the world to come together, exchange knowledge and develop innovative solutions for a better future,” His Highness remarked during his visit at the Expo 2020 Dubai site.
Schools have reopened
In August 29, the UAE formally welcomed 1.1 million students all over the country back to their classrooms – with teaching, administrative and technical staff of the government schools resuming their duties the week prior to ensure that their school is prepared for the resumption of classes.
Dr. Farida Al Hosani, official spokesperson of the UAE’s health sector, said that the government has worked closely with public and private educational institutions during the implementation of distance learning in 2020, until the gradual trials of blended and face-to-face learning before the 2020-2021 academic year ended.
“We have completed a year and a half of distance learning, and the education sector has proven its success in continuing, despite the pandemic. Today, our role is key to maintaining this success and ensuring the return to normalcy. It is important to prepare students for physical attendance in schools and continuing their education in all national schools,” said Dr. Al Hosani.
COVID-19 cases, deaths are down
The UAE’s daily tally for new COVID-19 cases also recorded a steep drop of 62% from January to August, and has dropped even further this September with average daily cases hovering around 600-800 per day. Recoveries also rose to 98% (721,367) versus the total number of cases (730,135) as of September 15.
The country has likewise been relentless in tracing active cases, with a total of 79,002,965 COVID-19 tests conducted since the beginning of the pandemic. Authorities have also dropped the price of PCR tests to only AED50, making tests more affordable and available to the public.
“From January to August 2021, we have witnessed a significant decrease in infections, amounting to 62 percent,” Al Hosani said.
The decline in COVID-19 cases, Al Hosani said, can be attributed to several factors such as the readiness of the health system and promoting a culture of regular testing.
Intercity transpo is open
The resumption of the E101 bus shuttle between Dubai and Abu Dhabi has resumed, the Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) said.
The operation of this inter-city bus service is coordinated with Abu Dhabi’s Department of Transport for serving passengers between the two emirates.
Adel Shakri, Director of Planning and Business Development, Public Transport Agency, RTA reported that Route E101 would start from Ibn Battuta Bus Station in Dubai and head to the Central Bus Station in Abu Dhabi.
Passengers allowed to enter Abu Dhabi are the following:
• Vaccinated individuals whose status is shown as green on Al Hosn App and designated by letter E or Star
• Unvaccinated individuals will be allowed to enter Abu Dhabi within 48 hours of receiving the Covid-19 test result
Increased capacities across public spaces
The National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA) will allow increased capacity for shopping malls, cinemas, and eateries in the UAE to 80 percent as part of its measures to ease COVID-19 restrictions.
The NCEMA said hotels can operate at full capacity and up to 10 people can be seated at one table at restaurants and cafes who are however required to wear a face mask.
In addition, events can be hosted to 60 percent of capacity with attendees advised to maintain adequate social distance and wear masks. The capacity in public transport has been increased to 75 percent.
In Dubai, the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) stared that both restaurants and cafes may adopt normal pre-pandemic business hours while complying with permits and guidelines issued by the DTCM.
Recreational and entertainment destinations — that include museums, cinemas, exhibitions and tourism spots – may increase their capacity to 80 percent.
There is no capacity limit for business events. However, they are required to adhere to all Covid-19 protocols issued by the department.
The number of participants in community events has been increased to 2,500 for indoor activities and 5,000 for outdoor functions with no mandatory vaccination.