Coronavirus: Abu Dhabi issues safety guidelines for winter camping, hiking

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Abu Dhabi health officials have issued new health and safety guidelines for outdoor trips, warning people to avoid contact with animals amid the ongoing coronavirus this winter.

The United Arab Emirates’ cooler winter climate means residents and tourists often use the Christmas period to explore the great outdoors, with popular options including camping and hiking in the desert.

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Outdoor activities are legal under the UAE’s current coronavirus regulations, but with cases continuing to rise daily, Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre issued a set of precautionary measures to follow via Twitter on Friday.

Hikers and campers should avoid any contact with farm or wild animals, either dead or alive, and any surfaces touched by these animals, authorities warned. Likewise, raw meat and animal products should also be avoided and not eaten.

Anyone on an outdoor trip must also practice social distancing, maintaining a 2-meter distance from others at all times and avoiding hugging and handshakes. Face masks must be worn at all times, and large gatherings should be avoided, with the exception of family gatherings.

If a member of the group has a cough or fever, they should immediately seek medical help.

People are also advised to avoid contact with anyone suffering from a fever or cough and to regularly was their hands using sterilizers and soap and water.

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Coronavirus in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi closed tourist attractions, mosques, schools and other facilities in March to combat the spread of the virus. Most of these restrictions have since been relaxed with schools and mosques reopened.

On Wednesday, health authorities announced that all remaining restrictions on “economic, tourism, cultural and entertainment activities” would be lifted within two weeks.

"Following the success achieved by implementing precautionary measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 and maintain a low rate of cases, Abu Dhabi Emergency Crisis and Disasters Committee for Covid-19 Pandemic has begun working with authorities to resume all activities in two weeks," tweeted the Abu Dhabi Media Office.

There are currently 19,559 active coronavirus cases in the UAE, the highest number since the beginning of the outbreak. However, the death rate remains low, with only 607 coronavirus-related deaths.

Last week, the country approved the Chinese-made Sinopharm vaccine as safe to use. The vaccine had already been granted emergency approval for frontline workers in September, following successful Phase III trials in Abu Dhabi.

Read more: Coronavirus: UAE approves Sinopharm vaccine for use after trials show 86 pct efficacy

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