As the number of coronavirus cases in the UAE has gone up during this week, authorities are warning the public to adhere to safety measures in order to avoid a second wave of the virus. During an interview on Al Emarat TV, Dr Saif Al Dhaheri, spokesperson of the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA), said that the increase in infections was a result of complacency by the public and that there was a possibility that the national sterilisation programme would be reinstated in certain areas, if the number of cases did not drop.
He said, “It is a chain, if we could break this chain, we would go back to the previous phase where there were fewer cases and more recoveries. If we break this chain [of infections], we go back to having control over the situation. We are ready for any scenario. If there came a reason for taking any further measures, we would not hesitate to do so.”
The UAE’s disinfection drive began in March with sanitising mist sprayed over public areas every night across the country. Residents were not allowed to leave their homes between 8pm to 6am. During Ramadan, the curfew timings were 10pm to 6 am. The sterilisation programme ended in late June.Dr Al Dhaheri further said that authorities would be imposing fines and penalties on violators, which range from AED 3,000 for not wearing a face mask or maintaining physical distance, to AED 50,000 for not following home quarantine instructions. The NCEMA spokesperson said he hoped this would be enough to motivate people to be careful again.
The country recorded 461 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, 20th August, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 65,802, with the death toll at 369. The total number of recoveries currently is 58,153 while the number of active cases currently is 7,280.