UAE combats coronavirus: Restrictions eased in Dubai, but danger still persists

The traffic registered after the relaxing of movement restrictions has been routine.

  
Ibn Battuta Mall reopens to welcome customers, with limited capacity and has undertaken all the necessary precautions to ensure the safety & wellbeing of shoppers & staff. Image courtesy Dubai Media Office Twitter handle.

Ibn Battuta Mall reopens to welcome customers, with limited capacity and has undertaken all the necessary precautions to ensure the safety & wellbeing of shoppers & staff. Image courtesy Dubai Media Office Twitter handle.

The Dubai Government had eased some restrictions imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19 after assessing the results, two top officials said on Thursday.

"We have eased some restrictions and allowed people to move around in Dubai. At every stage, we assess the situation and based on the results, we take further steps. We are yet to overcome the danger stage," said Lt-Gen Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, Commander-in-Chief of the Dubai Police.

He said this during a virtual Press conference organised by the Dubai Media Office, which was also attended by Sami Al Qamzi, Director-General of the Dubai Economy.

Success at Naif attributed to residents

Lt-Gen Al Marri attributed the success in the containment of the virus in the Naif area to a well-devised plan with daily follow-ups. "It was laid out as per instructions from Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council," said Al Marri. The cooperation of the residents of Naif and Al Ras played a major part in the success of measures, he added.

He said the purpose of warning fines is to convey an awareness message to violators, and it is for the good of everyone. The traffic registered after the relaxing of movement restrictions has been routine, explained Al Marri.

Economic situation

Commenting on when the economic situation in Dubai would go back to normal, Al Qamzi said the priority has been to raise awareness in the earlier stages.

"The Dubai Economy took many stringent measures on initial days and adherence was at 80 per cent," he said.

"We are facing a challenge. When we started this partial re-opening of services, we intend to not go back to closing it again," said Al Qamzi. "Dubai played a crucial role in setting benchmarks while trying to contain this crisis, and that will be a major factor in attracting future foreign direct investment (FDI)." He said the post-Covid-19 economy would be a very different one from before the pandemic.

What about price hikes?

Commenting on price hikes, Al Qamzi said at the beginning, the government was focused on ensuring that there was no price hike on essential items, including hand sanitisers and masks. "We have put a cap on the prices and have launched a portal where price-hikes can be reported," he added.

When asked if the private sector would be provided with more incentives, Al Qamzi said the government might offer companies an incentive in the later stages. "For some reason, the current incentives may not be enough; but the government is looking at further incentives. We hope to be able to retain the number of companies and their revenue," he added.

He said the government is closely monitoring the situation as it develops. "Dubai is looking to launch more initiatives in cooperation with the private sector to enable businesses to continue operating profitably and to prevent loss of jobs, he said.

Complete re-opening of public places such as beaches, parks and shopping malls largely depend on adherence from retailers and the general public, said Al Qamzi. "If people are adhering to the guidelines, we will see the full re-opening of our businesses shortly," he said.

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