After 212 years, the UAE is discontinuing its Covid mask requirements.

An Israeli traveller wearing a face mask in Dubai’s old al-Fahidi district on January 11th, 2021. Dubai is still marketing itself as a tourist destination despite a dramatic increase in instances of the coronavirus COVID-19, which has caused much of the developed world to impose travel restrictions.

Illustration by KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images

The United Arab Emirates capital of DUBAI — After 2.5 years, the United Arab Emirates will no longer require masks in most indoor public venues.

This new policy, as revealed by the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) in a televised announcement, will go into effect on September 28. Along with practically universal immunizations and quickly accessible PCR testing, the UAE’s long-standing mask regulation was a pillar of the country’s measures against Covid-19.

Although the verdict only applies in Abu Dhabi, the other six emirates in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), including Dubai, are anticipated to comply. According to NCEMA, masks will only be required in healthcare facilities, public transportation, and houses of worship.

When it came to mask requirements and enforcement, Abu Dhabi was one of the UAE’s toughest emirates. In Dubai, masks were to be worn indoors, but they may be removed for activities like eating, drinking, and working out.

Many other emirates loosened up on mask laws throughout the summer, so it was usual to see people without them in public.

On this day in 2020 in the Gulf Emirate of Dubai, an Emirati guy wanders around the al-Barsha Health Centre while wearing a face mask.

The AFP/GIUSEPPE CACACE collection of images

The United Arab Emirates will also discontinue reporting the daily count of Covid-19 cases it has been published since March 2020.

Isolation in places of worship is no longer mandated, and only individuals who have tested positive for Covid-19 will be forced to isolate; those who have had contact with them will no longer be obliged to do so. In addition, schools will no longer require teachers or pupils to wear masks.

The 10-day quarantine period for confirmed cases has been shortened to 5..

Vaccinated Abu Dhabi citizens, who were previously had to produce proof of a negative PCR test via the local app Al Hosn every 14 days in order to attend public institutions, will now be asked to present such proof every 30 days. Those who choose not to get the vaccine still need to show proof of a negative test every week. Aside from Dubai, this regulation is not in effect in the other emirates.

Due to rigorous mask-wearing requirements and early vaccination availability, Dubai was able to return for business and tourism a few months after the initial March-April 2020 lockdown period, earning accolades from around the world in the process. In the years that followed, there were brief spikes in crime, but real estate in Dubai enjoyed a boom as migrant workers sought refuge there.

NCEMA reports that the daily rate of new cases of Covid-19 has dropped to between 300 and 400, with a total of over a million cases and 2,343 deaths in the UAE since the epidemic began.

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