Middle East

UAE sounds warning after virus cases jump five-fold

In this April 26, 2020 file photo, a commuter wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, sleeps aboard the driverless Metro as it passes the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates said Thursday that daily coronavirus cases had jumped five-fold compared with a month ago, and warned residents and citizens to abide by measures designed to curb the disease.

The daily tally of cases hit 930 on Thursday, said Farida al-Hosani, spokeswoman for the Emirates' health sector, compared with 179 on August 10.

"This is the highest number recorded in four months," she said during a televised conference.

"Those who violate the preventive measures in place, whether an individual, shops, or restaurants, will be held accountable."

Hosani said 12 percent of cases were among residents or citizens returning to the UAE from abroad, even though they received negative tests from their destination countries -- which are a requirement for entry.

The remainder of the cases were among those infected as a result of social events, contact in the workplace, or other gatherings.

"This includes happy occasions, funerals, work and breaking coronavirus protocols on quarantine," she said.

Hosani said the spike in cases was due to people not abiding by measures such as social distancing and compulsory mask-wearing, as well as continuing to gather in large numbers in homes, shops and restaurants.

The UAE -- which has a population of approximately nine million -- has so far recorded 76,911 cases of coronavirus, including 67,945 recoveries and 398 deaths.

The country, a collection of seven emirates, went into strict lockdown in March to suppress infections. Dubai in particular is now largely open for business and tourism although the capital Abu Dhabi still requires a negative coronavirus test.

 

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