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Dubai cancels non-essential surgery, live entertainment as COVID-19 cases surge

Dubai's health regulator said in a circular published on its website on Wednesday that the decision, which takes effect on Thursday and could be extended, was aimed at ensuring the preparedness of health facilities to manage COVID-19 cases.

January 21, 2021 / 12:46 PM IST
Image: Reuters

Image: Reuters

Dubai has suspended non-essential surgery for a month and live entertainment in hotels and restaurants until further notice as coronavirus infections surge.

Dubai's health regulator said in a circular published on its website on Wednesday that the decision, which takes effect on Thursday and could be extended, was aimed at ensuring the preparedness of health facilities to manage COVID-19 cases.

Similarly, Dubai's tourism department issued a circular, seen by Reuters, suspending entertainment in hotels and restaurants after recording an increase in violations.

Dubai Tourism did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment, though the state media office confirmed on in a post on Twitter that entertainment permits had been suspended.

The daily number of infections in the United Arab Emirates, which includes Dubai, crossed the 3,000 threshold on January 12 and has continued to climb, hitting 3,506 on Wednesday. It is the highest in the Gulf Arab region where daily cases in each of the other five states have fallen below 500.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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The UAE does not give a breakdown for each emirate.

Visitors have flocked to Dubai, an international travel hub that is gearing up to host the Expo 2020 world fair in October, as other countries imposed new lockdowns.

Follow our LIVE blog for latest updates of the novel coronavirus pandemic

The UAE has lifted most coronavirus restrictions but mask-wearing in public and social distancing are still required. Britain this month removed the UAE from its travel corridors list due to the spike in infections.

The Gulf state has ramped up its immunisation campaign with the aim of vaccinating more than 50 percent of its roughly 9 million population, a majority of whom are expatriates, before the end of March.

It has approved the vaccine developed by Sinopharm's China National Pharmaceutical Group and made it available to the general public. Dubai is inoculating people with the vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTec.

Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.
Reuters
first published: Jan 21, 2021 12:35 pm

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