Wednesday, September 20, 2023

UAE warns of restrictions for unvaccinated

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The UAE announced on Wednesday it had given nearly 10 million doses, equal to one for every resident, after warning that those who remained unvaccinated would face restrictions on their movement.

The UAE has mounted an energetic vaccination campaign for its citizens as well as the foreigners who make up the majority of the population.

However, daily infection rates remain high after it became one of the first destinations to reopen to tourism last year, making it a magnet for visitors from all over the world, and being hit with a spike in cases afterwards as a result.

The National Crisis and Emergency Management Authority said on Wednesday that UAE had administered 111,176 doses of vaccine in the past 24 hours to reach 9,900,002 in total and a rate of 100.10 doses per 100 people’.

That result with two-dose therapies including Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Sinopharm, makes it second-fastest per capita delivery in the world among major nations, after Israel.

However, the NCEMA warned on Tuesday that anyone opting against vaccination was putting their families and communities at risk and that they would face unspecified penalties.

‘Strict measures are being considered to restrict the movement of unvaccinated individuals and to implement preventive measures such as restricting entry to some places and having access to some services,’ it tweeted.

The warning, after a vaccination program that has been widely embraced by citizens and residents alike, caused a stir online and a rare rebuke from two Emirati figures with large social media followings.

‘Taking the vaccine is a personal decision, and imposing it deprives people of their rights,’ Sheikha Manal al-Maktoum, a member of the Dubai royal family, tweeted.

The UAE has now recorded some 502,000 cases, the highest number among the Gulf states and exceeding its much bigger neighbor Saudi Arabia.

Strict rules on masks and social distancing are in force but otherwise life in the UAE’s cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi is going on much as normal with restaurants and shops open for business.

Source: AFP, Dubai   

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