UAE outlines COVID-19 restrictions for Christmas and New Year’s Eve events

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The United Arab Emirates government has outlined restrictions for social gatherings over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

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Attendance of celebrations will be capped at 80 percent of full capacity, according to the country’s National Crisis and Emergency Management Authority (NCEMA).

Attendees must also present a negative PCR test taken maximum 96 hours before arriving at any event.

Temperature checks will be carried out at entry and organizers have been urged to regulate entry and avoid overcrowding.

Anyone attending events must wear face masks and keep a distance of at least one and a half meters away from each other.

Members of the same family are permitted to sit next to each other without having to adhere to physical distancing.

People attending events have also been asked to refrain from shaking hands with one another.

The restrictions have been introduced amid steadily rising case numbers in the UAE.

A total of 148 new cases were detected on Wednesday, up from 110 the previous day and 92 on Monday.

Numbers, however, remain far below earlier in the year that saw a peak of around 3,000 new cases a day in February and around 2,000 a day in June.

The country’s capital Abu Dhabi also reintroduced land border checks in order to curb the spread of COVID-19, although these are less stringent than previous checks that were lifted in September.

A variety of celebrations are expected to be held across the emirates to mark Christmas and usher in the New Year.

Perhaps most noteworthy is the New Year’s Eve fireworks display at the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

The show is expected to be so well-attended that members of the public are being urged to register for a place in advance.

British pop star Robbie Williams is due to perform at a concert at the Atlantis on the Palm Jumeirah.

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