Dubai shuts bars after COVID-19 surge

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Dubai on Monday ordered bars to close until the end of the month to suppress a spike in coronavirus cases, after tourists flocked to the emirate over the holiday period.

The closures, effective from Tuesday, are among a raft of steps “taken in response to rising violations of preventive measures,” authorities said in a statement.

Indoor venues, including cinemas and sports venues, will have their capacity cut by half.

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Hotels, swimming pools and private beaches must operate at 70 percent of capacity.

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Dubai’s vast shopping malls must also reduce visitors to 70 percent of usual traffic.

Restaurants and cafes are required to close by 1.00 am.

“Penalties will be strictly imposed on anyone found posing a risk to public health by deliberately disregarding preventive measures or not observing them properly,” the Crisis and Disaster Management committee said.

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Dubai has sought to manage the pandemic without closing its doors, and reopened to tourism in July.

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But while masks and social distancing are mandatory, it has not prevented a sharp increase in cases in the new year.

Guidelines have been gradually tightened over recent days, and non-essential surgery in hospitals has been suspended.

The United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai is part, has recorded 859 deaths from Covid-19 since the pandemic began.

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Daily recorded cases of infection in the UAE rose to nearly 4,000 recently, but on Monday numbers were down to 2,730.

The UAE says it has already administered some 3.4 million doses of vaccine to its population of about 10 million.

(AFP)

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