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Sports UK

Premiership Rugby outlaws try celebrations in move to curb Covid-19 spread

Try celebrations were last night banned by Premiership Rugby chiefs in a dramatic move to curb the spread of coronavirus.

A raft of new stricter measures were brought in after Saturday’s East Midlands derby between Northampton and Leicester became the fifth English top-flight match of the season to be cancelled, due to an outbreak at Saints.

The league’s tightened protocols at training grounds are to include a ban on ice baths, a requirement that face masks are worn at all times within buildings and that food is available only on a take away basis.

‘Face-to-face’ try celebrations, along with hugs and handshakes are outlawed from matches and ‘non-playing’ players are no longer permitted to attend unless nominated as a travelling reserve.

Rugby union, which shutdown completely between March and August, is battling to keep afloat through this second wave.

As the virus tightens its grip, double-winning Exeter boss Rob Baxter admitted that any achievement beyond simply getting through the season in one piece will be a “bonus”.

England stars celebrate 2019 World Cup semi-final win 0ver New Zealand

Baxter, whose Chiefs team forfeited a European Cup match last month after an outbreak in their ranks, believes regular testing in English rugby’s top flight makes it “relatively safe”.

But he admitted: “If we get through this season okay and unscathed – by which I mean with no health issues among the people we know and in the club – we’ve done a pretty good job.

“And anything you can get out of it positively on the rugby field is more than a bonus really.”

Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter
Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter

Montpellier owner Mohed Altrad has called for the plug to be pulled on the Champions Cup, which thus far has seen four cancellations including holders Exeter’s clash at Toulouse.

In the Challenge Cup, which has seen two games scrubbed, Bayonne are currently refusing to fulfil their remaining fixtures.

The Lions tour to South Africa is in grave doubt, although there is talk of switching it to the UK and Ireland if, as increasingly seems inevitable, Covid prevents fans from travelling.

One option under discussion is to switch Lions tour from South Africa to UK and Ireland
One option under discussion is to switch Lions tour from South Africa to UK and Ireland

“Do I understand why people have their concerns and their worries? 100 per cent,” said Baxter. “The reason we are in the scenario we are in, that should give a concern.

“But we’ve been cleared as professional sport to carry on, so that’s what we’ve got to do.

“We’re in such a climate of change at the moment it’s just about focusing on yourself and what you’re doing and how you try and get yourselves through things as a rugby club. The only thing you’re in control of is what you do.”

The Premiership’s latest Covid test results are due today. Exeter organised an additional round of testing after recording “some” positives.

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UAE

No major accidents during Dubai’s New Year Eve celebrations

Dubai: Dubai’s comprehensive plan to secure the New Year Eve’s celebrations helped to prevent any major accidents, Dubai’s top police officer said on Sunday.

Lt General Abdullah Al Merri, Commander-In-Chief at Dubai Police, praised the efforts by 40 government and semi-government entities to organise the celebrations. “Dubai dazzled the world with New Year Eve’ celebration amid COVID-19 pandemic. All celebrations sites complied with precautionary measures and witnessed a smooth movement,” Lt Gen Al Merri said in statement.

Meanwhile, Dubai police recorded 219 minor accidents during the celebrations without fatalities.

Brigadier Saif Muhair Al Mazroui thanked the spectators of following traffic instructions which eased police work during the busy night. “People followed traffic instructions and arrived early at the celebration sites. We recorded 219 minor traffic accidents during the celebrations,” Brig Al Mazroui said.

Moreover, Dubai Police command room received 16,761 emergency calls between 6pm on Thursday December 31, 2020 till 6am on Friday January 1, 2021.

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UAE

Photos: Gulf News readers share pictures of New Year’s Eve celebrations and fireworks in the UAE

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UAE

Photos: UAE New Year’s Eve celebrations and fireworks


Photos: UAE New Year's Eve celebrations and fireworks

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UAE

2021 New Year’s Eve celebrations in UAE: Live updates from Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaima

Safe distance stickers installed at Downtown in Dubai.
Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News

As the world bids farewell to a tumultuous 2020 and gets ready to welcome the new year, we bring you updates from around the world on the festivities

Scene at Downtown Dubai

Dubai Police have started rerouting the flow of traffic after Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd, Al Asayel Street and the lower deck of Financial Centre Road were closed at 4pm.

Al Mustaqbal Street will be closed gradually from Business Bay and Dubai World Trade Center intersections starting from 6pm and Al Sukuk street will close at 8pm while the upper deck of Financial Centre Road will close at 9pm.

There are still ample parking inside Dubai Mall. Emaar has allocated around 16,700 parking slots in the mall, including Zabeel extension parking area.

Don’t forget the QR code

Spectators must ensure they carry the QR code issued after registering at U By Emaar app. Access to Downtown Dubai will be through five gates erected around the area and only those with QR code can go to the viewing locations. The QR codes are segregated by colours: light blue for restaurants and eateries; dark red for those who can go at Dubai Opera; and black for public viewing areas along Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard.

Al Asayel road closed

Dubai Police: Al Asayel road leading to Burj Khalifa area is temporarily closed and will be designated for buses and emergency vehicles only.

Scenes from Dubai Mall

Spreading cheer with smart technologies

Preparations in full swing at Al Wathba

Families at Buhairah Corniche in Sharjah 

NYE preparations Sharjah
Families enjoy the weather at Sharjah Buhairah Corniche in Sharjah.
Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News

‘Celebrate with caution’

World is ushering in a new year in the shadow of an unprecedented pandemic, marked by stringent safety measures. The National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority called on people in the UAE to adhere to the safety guidelines and protocols in place over New Year’s Eve celebrations on Thursday.

Categories
UAE

2021 New Year’s Eve celebrations in UAE: Live updates from Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah

Image Credit:

As the world bids farewell to a tumultuous 2020 and gets ready to welcome the new year, we bring you updates from around the world on the festivities

India ushers in New Year

Tribute to COVID-19 frontliners

Since 2010, the theme for the New Year’s Eve has always been kept a secret. This year, however, there are speculations that the theme would revolve around togetherness, community celebration and tribute to COVID-19 frontliners.

Emaar said up to 50,000 people from around the world were expected to join on Zoom calls to witness the New Year’s Eve celebrations that was also streamed live on www.mydubainewyear.com. Netizens were also given the opportunity to share their New Year wishes on the world’s tallest building by using the hashtag #BurjWishes2021.

Tribute to UAE friends

Before the main event, flags of various countries were displayed on Burj Khalifa. Japan and South Korea came first as they celebrated their New Year at 7pm (UAE time), followed by China, the Philippines and Singapore at 8pm while Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia came at 9pm. India’s flag will be displayed at 10.30pm while Pakistan colours will be showcased at 11pm. Other countries, including UK will displayed after midnight.

Fewer spectators, anticipation high

The number of spectators was fewer than last year but the mood and level of anticipation was still high. People still came in droves – some as early as 4pm – to witness live the annual fireworks and laser show on Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower.

NYE burj khalifa
People came early to get the best seats at Dubai Mall Promenade to watch Burj Khalifa fireworks.
Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News

Unlike in previous years, when people were standing shoulder to shoulder and jockeying for the best view of Burj Khalifa, physical distancing was strictly enforced this year and people had to stand at marked areas to watch the event. Everyone was also required to wear a face mask at all times.

Streets and boulevards at Downtown Dubai and the Dubai Mall Metro Station were closed earlier than usual. No vehicle was allowed along Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard as the entire stretch was designated as a public viewing area.

Only those with QR codes who preregistered on U By Emaar app were allowed access to restaurants and eateries along Dubai Mall Promenade and the public viewing areas at Burj Park and Dubai Opera. Disinfection and sanitisation campaign were conducted a day before New Year’s Eve.

Stronger in 2021

Hours before midnight, Gulf News spoke to some old timers and first timers who came to watch the Burj Khalifa fireworks. Filipino expat Raphael Bacaoco, 26, said it has become a tradition for him to film the pyrotechnics display. “There was an obvious reduction in the number of spectators this year because of the pandemic. But the mood at the foot of Burj Khalifa was still upbeat,” he told Gulf News.

“2020 has been a year of full of challenges but this was also year when we showed our resilience. I think we came out stronger and the UAE, in fact, has shown a resounding success in handling the COVID-19 crisis. For this, we really need to celebrate,” Bacaoco strongly pointed out.

Long-time Dubai resident Agnes Dakay said she went to watch the Burj Khalifa live for the first time in more than 10 years of living in the UAE.

“I came here (Dubai Mall Fountain Area) before 4pm to avoid traffic and to get the best seat. I’m sure I will not be disappointed. Before, because of work, I was only able to watch the fireworks on YouTube. But now, I will see it up close,” she said.

Straight from Birmingham

Talking about excitement, no one perhaps could beat British tourists Haz Rasool and Miya Kainarth. The duo came straight to Dubai Mall after landing at the airport at 9am on New Year’s Eve to book a seat at a restaurant with nice view of Burj Khalifa.

“We had a long flight and we had only a few hours of sleep but we went straight here to book a seat and watch the amazing Burj Khalifa fireworks for the first time. Now, we got the best seats and we’re intrigued and super excited how this will come out,” Rasool and Kainarth said in unison.

Rasool said he would like to come back next year to watch again the fireworks and Dubai while Kainarth said her New Year’s wish is to be able to travel to as many places as she can in 2021.

NYE burj khalifa
People came early to get the best seats at Dubai Mall Promenade to watch Burj Khalifa fireworks. 31th December 2020.
Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News

Burj Khalifa displays Happy New Year, China!

Watch Global Village fireworks

GLOBAL Village
Global Village
Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Happy New Year, Philippines!

Untitled-19
The Philippine flag on the Burj Khalifa
Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Lower Financial center road is temporarily closed, announces Dubai Police

Happy New Year Japan! on Burj Khalifa

New Year Japan
Image Credit: Gulf News

Scene at Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa

Restaurant at Dubai Fountain

Cyra Tadifa prepares the table at a restaurant at Dubai Fountain as guests are beginning to take their seats and witness the fireworks and laser show on Burj Khalifa.

All guests, visiting one of the restaurants or hotels on Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Souk Al Bahar, Dubai Opera and The Dubai Mall Promenade were via the U By Emaar app. The free and easy-to-use registration process gives guests access at Downtown Dubai on New Year’s Eve.

Strict precautionary measures, including social distancing and wearing of masks, are being enforced at Downtown Dubai for the gala event

Are you heading out to celebrate NYE in Dubai?

Check out these Social distance guidelines

People arrive at Global Village to welcome New Year 2021

Enjoying sunset at Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival

Last sunset of 2020

People enjoy the last sunset of 2020 at the Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival in Abu Dhabi on 31st December, 2020.
People enjoy the last sunset of 2020 at the Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival in Abu Dhabi on 31st December, 2020.
Image Credit: Cint Egbert/Gulf News
NYE preparations Dubai
People Dubai Mall to witness fireworks in Burj Khalifah on New Years Eve to welcome 2021.
Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Year 2021 arrives in Sydney

271368-01-02-(Read-Only)
New Year’s Eve fireworks erupt over Sydney’s iconic Harbour Bridge and Opera House (L) during the fireworks show.
Image Credit: AFP

Burj Khalifa Metro station closes

The Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall Metro Station has been closed, RTA has informed. Commuters are asked to use the Financial Centre and Business Bay Metro Stations to reach Burj Khalifa area.

Moderate traffic around Burj Khalifa

Seven hours before midnight, traffic around the vicinity of Burj Khalifa is still moderate. Some roads are already closed and the use of public transport is highly advised.

Both the Red and Green lines on Dubai Metro will operate straight until 1am on Saturday (January 2). The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), meanwhile, advised Metro users to take note that Burj Khalifa/ Dubai Mall Metro station will be closed from 5pm today (New Year’s Eve) until 6am tomorrow (January 1). During closure time, commuters can use either the Financial Centre Metro Station or Business Bay Metro Station.

The RTA advised motorists going to Downtown Dubai to use DubaiMetro and leave their vehicles at the parking area in Rashidiya and Etisalat metro stations.

Later after the fireworks display at Burj Khalifa, commuters can use any of the 200 buses allocated by the RTA to transport spectators free of charge from the event venue to metro stations, in addition to taxi parking spots in each of the parking lots of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRAFA), Musallah Al Eid hall in Al Mankhool and Al Wasl Club.

The RTA reminded the commuters to practice physical distancing and give priority to senior citizens, women, children, and People of Determination in trains and elevators.

Scene from Jumeira Beach
A resident setting up a tent for watching New Year’s Eve celebrations on Jumeira public beach, Dubai
Image Credit: Antonin Kelian Kallouche/Gulf News

Video: People beginning to arrive at Jumeirah Beach

New Zealand celebrates New Year

Virus_Outbreak_New_Zealand_New_Years_Eve_79274
Fireworks are launched from the Sky Tower to mark the changing of the year on New Year’s eve in Auckland, New Zealand.
Image Credit: AP

Scene at Downtown Dubai

Dubai Police have started rerouting the flow of traffic after Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd, Al Asayel Street and the lower deck of Financial Centre Road were closed at 4pm.

Al Mustaqbal Street will be closed gradually from Business Bay and Dubai World Trade Center intersections starting from 6pm and Al Sukuk street will close at 8pm while the upper deck of Financial Centre Road will close at 9pm.

There are still ample parking inside Dubai Mall. Emaar has allocated around 16,700 parking slots in the mall, including Zabeel extension parking area.

Don’t forget the QR code

Spectators must ensure they carry the QR code issued after registering at U By Emaar app. Access to Downtown Dubai will be through five gates erected around the area and only those with QR code can go to the viewing locations. The QR codes are segregated by colours: light blue for restaurants and eateries; dark red for those who can go at Dubai Opera; and black for public viewing areas along Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard.

Al Asayel road closed

Dubai Police: Al Asayel road leading to Burj Khalifa area is temporarily closed and will be designated for buses and emergency vehicles only.

Scenes from Dubai Mall

Spreading cheer with smart technologies

Preparations in full swing at Al Wathba

Families at Buhairah Corniche in Sharjah 

NYE preparations Sharjah
Families enjoy the weather at Sharjah Buhairah Corniche in Sharjah.
Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News

‘Celebrate with caution’

World is ushering in a new year in the shadow of an unprecedented pandemic, marked by stringent safety measures. The National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority called on people in the UAE to adhere to the safety guidelines and protocols in place over New Year’s Eve celebrations on Thursday.

Categories
UAE

COVID-19: Dubai to intensify inspections during New Year’s Eve celebrations

Dubai Municipality announces on Wednesday to intensify inspections on various establishments across the emirate during New Year’s Eve to ensure safety measures.
Image Credit: Dubai Media Office

Dubai: Dubai will intensify inspections to ensure health and safety of the public during the New Year’s Eve celebrations amid the COVID-29 pandemic and violators would face fines and penalties, authorities said on Wednesday.

Dubai Municipality announced that it would be intensifying inspections on various establishments across the emirate.

For this, the civic body has devised a comprehensive plan, including round-the-clock initiatives, aimed at ensuring that all sites and facilities are complying with the precautionary measures in order to safeguard the health of employees and visitors to the establishments.

23 locations

The inspections will cover 23 locations, including areas where the fireworks and laser shows will be taking place as well as shopping malls, hotels, restaurants, cafés, parks, salons, beaches and jogging tracks.

The Municipality said that directives were issued to the sites and facilities participating in the celebrations to strictly adhere to the precautionary measures and safety requirements included in the circulars issued to them.

Dubai Municipality has also used its social media platforms to spread awareness among the public on the importance of following precautionary measures during the New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Round-the-clock drives

The Municipality has prepared several inspection programmes for the occasion, including ‘Together We Celebrate Safely,’ a round-the-clock field inspection campaign to ensure compliance of establishments with precautionary measures. Another inspection programme called ‘24/7 Employee’ will have employees working on different shifts to inspect activities during the day.

Be Aware programme

The ‘Be Aware’ programme includes distributing circulars and guidelines to spread awareness on precautionary measures.

Another initiative named ‘Instant Processing of Reports’ was launched to respond to urgent complaints coming through the Municipality’s Call Centre 800900.

The inspection drive launched by Dubai Municipality seeks to safeguard the health and well-being of the community during and after the celebrations, the civic body said in a media statement.

It also seeks to instantly respond to any complaints received from the public by dispatching field inspectors to the site. The Municipality noted that non-compliant establishments will be subject to fines and penalties in accordance with enforced rules and regulations.

Categories
UAE

Watch: Massive clean-up plans in Dubai after New Year celebrations

Dubai: Hundreds of municipal workers and civic volunteers will be pressed into service to ensure Dubai is all clean and tidy soon after the New Year celebrations, it was revealed on Wednesday.

Dubai Municipality has announced that it has organised a plan for cleaning areas where New Year celebrations will be held.

A team of workers and volunteers has already been formed and the municipality has also partnered with the private sector responsible for celebration areas, to finish cleaning operations in the night itself, the civic body said.

As many as 500 cleaners and 250 volunteers from various sectors will take part in the cleaning operations.

The busiest areas in town will be supplied with an additional 216 waste containers to ensure the revellers have enough facilities to trash the litter.

Several sand sweepers will also be used to clean the main roads.

Dubai has a history of tidying up the city immediately after the massive New Year celebrations in the main areas after hundreds of thousands of revellers return home following the fireworks and New Year bash.

The civic body has made arrangements to continue with the overnight drive during the New Year celebrations even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic as well.

Categories
UAE

DHA to set up three field hospitals for New Year’s Eve celebrations in Dubai

Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has set up three field hospitals in downtown Dubai for the New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Image Credit: Dubai Media Office

Dubai: The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) announced that it would set-up three field hospitals and deploy several medical teams in the Burj Khalifa area to ensure the safety of community members during the New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Jassem Bin Kalban, Director of DHA’s Ambulatory Mobile Services office at the DHA said the authority has prepared a comprehensive plan that includes setting up three field hospitals equipped with the latest medical equipment to deal with various emergencies that may arise during the event. The field hospitals will be managed by a team of specialised and qualified medical and nursing staff, he added.

“More than 14 doctors, 35 nurses, supported by administrators and four logistics teams will be deployed on the day of the celebration. The field hospitals will be equipped with ECG machines, vital sign measuring equipment, inhalers, oxygen cylinders, CPR machines, wheelchairs, first-aid kits, cardiac vital sign measurement devices among other medical equipment.”

Bin Kalban added that the field hospitals set up by the Authority will be in direct contact with DHA hospitals, including Rashid Hospital, Latifa Hospital and Dubai Hospital.

He highlighted DHA’s keenness to provide the best health services to visitors joining the celebrations this year, which are being organised amid exceptional global circumstances, noting Dubai’s unique ability to deal with various challenges while ensuring the health, safety and happiness of people.

The DHA called on the public to adhere to all the precautionary measures outlined by health authorities in the country for the New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Private social gatherings must be limited to 30 people with proper social distancing measures in place. Gatherings must comply with the rule of one person per four square metres of venue space.

Elderly people and those with chronic conditions are advised not to attend such gatherings while those experiencing symptoms such as coughing or fever must refrain from attending events. As per the guidelines, attendees must also wear face masks at all times.

Categories
UAE

4,000 Dubai Police personnel to be deployed to ensure security for New Year’s Eve celebrations

Dubai: Dubai Police will deploy more than 4,000 policemen to secure thousands of people planning to celebrate Dubai’s New Year Eve. Dubai Police said that 2,000 police patrols will be operating across the city, using artificial intelligence to scan the spectators’ body temperatures by using the ‘Oyoon’ smart system. In addition to police personnel, about 1,000 volunteers and 2,000 members of private security agencies will also be ready to ensure smooth movement of pedestrians.

Brigadier Saif Muhair Al Mazroui, Director of Traffic Department at Dubai Police, said that there will be 20 police points to provide services to people at the 23 celebration sites in Dubai. “Dubai is ready to welcome the New Year amid closures all around the world. This year’s celebrations will be exceptional amid COVID-19. Precautionary measures will be implemented at all sites,” Brig Al Mazroui said. Dubai Police have also urged people to maintain social distancing and wear masks. “Many big countries have imposed lockdowns and cancelled celebrations, but Dubai is preparing to welcome the New Year. We hope it will be a good New Year for everyone,” added Brig Al Mazroui. Police have also urged people to call 999 for emergencies and 901 for non-emergencies.

“Police will use latest technology through the ‘Oyoon’ system to scan body temperatures. The smart system was originally used to identify wanted people using face-recognition technology, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the cameras were updated to scan body temperatures,” he added.

Meanwhile, Dubai Health Authority will have three field hospitals at the celebration sites, along with a team of 49 doctors and nurses to respond to emergencies. A team of ten administrators and support teams will be kept ready to respond to any exigencies during the celebrations.