Middle East

UAE eases COVID-19 face mask rules as Expo nears

A handout image provided by United Arab Emirates News Agency (WAM) on September 21, 2021 shows Dubai's Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al-Maktoum (C-L) attending the opening of the Gastech Conference 2021. (Photo by - / WAM / AFP)

DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates on Wednesday cut the number of places where face masks must be worn as it gears up to open the Expo 2020 world fair next month and as official COVID-19 case numbers fall.

The UAE had required masks in all public places and among members of different households in private vehicles.

While adhering to a two-metre distancing rule, masks can now be removed when doing exercise in public places, on beaches and at poolsides, in hair salons and in medical centres when being treated.

The change follows a steady decrease in reported daily cases since early July, the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority said in a statement carried by state news agency WAM.

Local authorities should display signs where it is permitted to remove masks, it added.

Dubai, one of the UAE's seven emirates, opens the Expo 2020 world fair on Oct. 1 which it hopes will bring in 25 million domestic and foreign visitors.

Everyone attending Expo over 18 will have to be vaccinated against the coronavirus or test negative to enter.

 

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