Coronavirus: Dubai replaces health authority chief as UAE sees surge in COVID cases

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The ruler of Dubai has replaced the head of the emirate’s health authority in the midst of an immunization drive and a spike in COVID-19 infections in the United Arab Emirates.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum appointed Awad Saghir al-Ketbi as the new director general of the Dubai Health Authority, replacing Humaid al-Qutami, according to a statement issued on Sunday.

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The number of daily coronavirus cases in the UAE, a federation of seven emirates, has tripled in the past month. On Monday authorities registered 3,591 new infections and six deaths. They do not provide a breakdown per emirate.

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The country has largely removed coronavirus restrictions with the exception of face masks in public and social distancing.

But Dubai, the region’s business and tourism hub, has seen an influx of visitors during its peak winter season and in the past week re-imposed some measures, including banning live entertainment and further restricting the number of people allowed to gather at social events and restaurants.

The UAE has ramped up its immunization campaign with the aim of vaccinating more than 50 percent of its roughly 9 million population before the end of March.

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with Reuters