Coronavirus: UAE set to make announcement on COVID-19

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The United Arab Emirates government is set to make what is expected to be a significant announcement on the coronavirus pandemic in the country at 5 p.m. local time Thursday.

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The country's official Emirates News Agency (WAM) said on Wednesday that the announcement would address COVID-19. It comes after a recent jump in cases in the country has led to fears of a second wave.

Read the latest updates in our dedicated coronavirus section.

On Wednesday, the UAE recorded 883 new infections in 24 hours - the highest single day increase in COVID-19 cases since May, and the fourth highest on record, following May 19, 20, and 21 at the peak of the first wave of the pandemic.

That jump came after a more gradual rise in infections since the end of August.

On August 31, the number of new cases rose above 500 and has stayed there since, with the exception of September 7, when only 470 new cases were recorded.

On Tuesday, the country recorded 644 new infections and one new death.

Will restrictions on movement be reinstated?

The UAE previously imposed a lockdown during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic as it conducted its national sterilization drive.

At the height of the lockdown, residents could only leave their house if they had a permit approved by the authorities.

By late June, the infection rate had been brought down from its heights of mid-May, and on June 24 the UAE announced the completion of the national sterilization program and end to restrictions on movement. The emirate of Dubai has also welcomed tourists back after the suspension of international flights.

But this week authorities warned that irresponsible behavior and social gatherings have spurred the infection rate.

A single person infected 45 others with COVID-19, one of whom died from the disease, according to UAE government spokesperson Omar al-Hammadi said on Tuesday.

However, increased testing may also be linked to the rise in infection rate, as the country continues to open new testing facilities, including two new free testing centers in the northern emirate of Fujairah.

The latest number comes after authorities conducted 85,917 tests, with future expansions planned.

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