UAE authorities have urged the public to stay safe while celebrating the upcoming festival of Eid Al Adha, between Thursday, 30th July to Sunday, 2nd August. The authorities have revealed that several new cases of coronavirus have been linked to family events and that 47 members of a single family have contracted the virus as they ignored social distancing rules.
During the UAE government’s weekly media briefing, Minister of Health and Prevention, Abdulrahman Al Owais said it was “a national duty and obligation” of Emiratis and UAE residents to wear face masks in public, observe physical distance and maintain personal hygiene.
He said, “These are hard times, it’s true, but hopefully we will celebrate occasions [such as Eid Al Adha] as we did previously, in future,” and added, “The measures are simple but leave a positive impact. We cannot waste our progress.”
UAE government’s spokesperson Dr Omar Al Hammadi said those who do not comply with physical distancing rules during Eid will have to pay hefty fines. He encouraged people to use social media and electronic communication to interact. He said that home visits should be limited to first and second-degree relatives, and that people should wear masks and keep a minimum distance of two metres during their visit in order to avoid infecting their loved ones.
“Despite positive indicators, we must still implement these safety measures to curb the spread of the virus. We are still monitoring and recording infections within families because of gatherings and failure to adhere to rules. These gatherings do not help because families do not wear masks,” he added. He also advised everyone to be more careful around high-risk categories such as pregnant women and elderly people with chronic health conditions. He advised parents to keep a check on their children and avoid giving them cash and gifts. He also said that it was important to ensure that domestic workers use personal protective equipment when receiving home deliveries, etc.
Meanwhile, Dubai Health Authority’s (DHA) public health department has also issued an advisory for Eid holidays. Director of Public Health Protection Department DHA, Dr Badreya Al Harmi advised everyone to be extra careful when going to beauty salons, malls or restaurants, and reminded them that Eid prayers will be performed at home.
She also said, “There is no relaxation in rules of wearing face masks or keeping distance and sanitising hands while in a public place just because of the festival. People must be on the alert and not relax any of the rules during the Eid holidays.”
Dr Al Harmi emphasised that the public should keep following general precautionary measures such as staying home if they have a fever or any respiratory symptom.
The public health department also issued these specific guidelines:
- Pay for any services with debit/credit cards or smart pay.
- Wear a face mask properly at all times.
- Remove your face mask while eating at a restaurant or café but maintain physical distance.
- Avoid embracing or touching others.
- Refuse service at salons if any staff members show symptoms of coronavirus.
- Take your own grooming tools for haircutting, manicure/pedicure, shaving, etc. to salons or ensure that the tools being used have been sterilised.
- Keep your hands clean by sanitising regularly especially after touching surfaces.
- Wash your hands before and after you eat.
- When eating out, avoid sharing food or drinks with others. Use single-use cutlery to eat.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Eat healthy homemade food and avoid overindulging in meat dishes and desserts.
- Avoid fried foods and meals high in sugar and fat. Try to include more fruits, vegetables and whole grain crackers in your diet.