2020 has been starkly different from any of the preceding years in the last decade because of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, the UAE Government has issued strict warnings to citizens and residents for the week leading to Eid-Al-Fitr. The Ministry of Health and Prevention announced four people died as a result of Covid-19 infections in its daily update on May 18.
In addition, it was revealed that there are 832 new cases - up from the 731 cases announced on Sunday, May 17.
According to Arabian Business, the official spokesperson of the UAE Government, Dr Amna Al Dahak Al Shamsi, stated “we understand the importance of socialising and meeting family and friends during Eid, but due to the exceptional circumstances, lets share this sense of responsibility for everyone’s safety.”
Large gatherings for Eid celebrations have also been banned.
The new cases bring the total number of cases in the country to 24,190, while a total of 224 people have died in the UAE from Covid-19.
“Imagine a UAE family deciding to continue their yearly custom of gathering on the first day of Eid or visiting their grandfather’s house to spend their happy occasion with other relatives and meeting brothers, sisters, children and old elderly people with pre-existing conditions," she said.
"Imagine that one of the family members is unaware that he or she contracted coronavirus from a contact and showed no symptoms. This person would congratulate his or her grandfather and exchange Eid greetings with the rest of the family members, spend the whole day with them without taking the necessary preventive measures, passing on the infection to the family. By the end of the day, each family will go back to their home, without knowing that they are infected now, and may be one of them will decide to cap this with visiting friends and another goes back to work after Eid holidays.”
The UAE government also announced:
- Supermarkets and restaurants (delivery only) can continue to operate 24 hours and continue to be exempt from the lockdown period.
- Starting Wednesday May 20, shopping malls opening hours will be reduced, revised to 9am to 7pm. New timings to be announced after Eid.
- Other shops offering food products allowed to be open from 6am to 8pm.
- 30% capacity to remain in place, along with social distancing of two metres.
- Adults over 60 and children under 12 not allowed in shopping centres.
- Shopping time in the mall limited to two hours per shopper.
- Exercising near homes for one to two hours, with a maximum of three people together, maintaining social distance rules.
- A number of Eid Al Fitr precautions were also announced:
- Avoid family visits and gatherings.
- Avoid distributing Eid cash gifts for children - use online banking.
- Eid prayers at home.