Private gatherings behind spike in COVID-19 cases, Dubai Police chief says

Stock Dubai skyline
Dubai skyline
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Dubai: Despite Dubai community members complying with precautionary measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, private gatherings and parties at homes and weddings are still the major reasons behind the recent spike in the number of positive cases, the chief of Dubai Police has observed.

On Friday, Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management issued new rules for gatherings at social events — including weddings and private parties. The committee said that a maximum of ten people would be allowed to gather for social events and all attendees must be limited to first-degree relatives only. The mandate applies to gatherings at hotels as well as at homes.

Lt General Abdullah Khalifa Al Merri, Commander-In-Chief of Dubai Police, said that some people were neglecting the precautionary measures like social distancing and wearing of masks at private gatherings and those were the reasons behind the recent spike in the number of positive cases of COVID-19.

Lt General Abdullah Khalifa Al Merri
Lt General Abdullah Khalifa Al Merri.
Image Credit: Supplied

“It is rare to see someone at a public place not wearing a mask. Many people complying [with the health protocol] shows increased awareness in society. But the problem is with private gatherings like weddings and those at homes,” Lt Gen Al Merri told Gulf News.

He urged people to report any violation to help the country in the battle against the pandemic.

“No country can defeat the pandemic without the support of the community. It is impossible for the police to monitor all houses, cars or family gatherings. There are parties for 20 or 40 attendees, but you find 80 people gathering there. This is not acceptable behaviour,” added Lt Gen Al Merri. The chief of Dubai Police urged the people to ask themselves before attending any gathering, whether the number of people attending will be limited to the allowed number of guests and whether all the attendees had a negative polymerase chain reaction test result.

“The UAE provided everything to counter the pandemic. Testing centres are everywhere and there are around 50 vaccination centres as well. The responsibility is now on the shoulders of individuals,” he added.

According to the new set of rules in Dubai, the minimum distance between tables at restaurants and cafes has been increased from two metres to three metres. Also, the maximum number of people allowed to sit at one table has been reduced from ten to seven at restaurants and to four at cafes. At fitness centres and gymnasiums, the physical distancing between sports equipment and the trainees has been increased from two metres to three metres.

These new rules come into effect on and from January 27.

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