The UAE has canceled or postponed upcoming entertainment and sports events as coronavirus continues spread across the Middle East and North Africa with over 1,600 people infected across the region.
The organizers of Ultra Abu Dhabi 2020, which was set to take place on March 5-6 at Abu Dhabi's 25,000-capacity Du arena, said the event had been postponed to a later date, due to the travel restrictions imposed by some countries and airlines.
Make Bank K-Pop extravaganza, which was scheduled to be held on the weekend of March 20-21 at Dubai’s Coca-Cola Arena, has also been indefinitely postponed.
A women's forum and yoga festival in Abu Dhabi have also been rescheduled. Women's Forum Middle East, scheduled for March 7-8 in Abu Dhabi, has been postponed until further notice.
The annual Aks Color Carnival holi, which celebrates the Hindu festival of colours and was set to take place in Dubai Sports City on March 6, has been called off in the interest of public health safety, organisers have stated.
In addition, the International Triathlon Union has postponed the 2020 ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Paratriathlon World Cup and Abu Dhabi Mixed Relay event as a precautionary measure to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
Art Dubai on Tuesday announced that the 14th edition of the international art fair, scheduled for 25-28 March 2020, would be postponed. The organization will be hosting a smaller, community-based event instead.
The UAE takes measures to stop coronavirus, disruption
While the UAE was the first country in the Middle East to record a confirmed case of coronavirus, it has been largely successful in containing its spread, with no deaths yet.
Nevertheless, life in the country has become increasingly disrupted by the virus.
In an effort to limit the spread of the virus, the government has evacuated all UAE citizens from Iran. The country banned travel to Iran and Thailand on February 24 and warned against travel to China on January 24.
The Federal Authority for Land and Maritime Transport (FTA) suspended on February 27 ferry services with Iran until further notice, and required all commercial vessels coming into the country to present a statement of health condition for their crews 72 hours ahead of arrival.
On Tuesday, the government announced that schools and higher education institutions would be closed for four weeks from Sunday. The UAE Education Ministry said that it was launching a distance learning initiative and a program for sanitizing educational institutions.
These disruptions appear to be hitting the economy, with the UAE central bank set to reassess its forecast for growth in 2020 to take into account the impact of coronavirus, according to Magda Kandil, the head of the research and statistics department at the central bank.
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