Coronavirus: UAE restaurants told to close, delivery only

A restaurant at the Marina Waterfront in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (File photo: AP)

The UAE announced that restaurants would be limited to delivery only for a two week period, starting in 48 hours from Monday to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, according to state news agency WAM.

The two-week period is subject to review and came as part of an announcement that the country would also be closing all malls, shopping centers, commercial centers, and open markets except for fish, vegetable and meat markets.

In another statement on Twitter, the UAE Ministry of Interior and the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority called upon the citizens and visitors to stay at home except if necessary or for work reasons. The authorities also instructed people to wear face masks and follow health instructions.

All inbound and outbound flights to the UAE will also be suspended for two weeks, subject to review and evaluation, announced the General Civil Aviation Authority and the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority in the UAE. As with the decision on shopping centers, it will come into practice in 48 hours.

UAE further limits human contact

The latest measures are the latest attempt to limit human-to-human contact in the UAE, which is the primary way in which the deadly COVID-19 virus is spread.

The UAE first introduced measures in February, when it announced measures including stopping flights to Iran, the country which has been the center of the outbreak in the Middle East.

Since then, it has announced the closure of schools for a four week period and a raft of entertainment and leisure facilities including bars, beaches, gyms, and tourist sites.

Authorities have begun to enforce some of the bans. In Dubai, authorities closed down nine shisha cafes for disobeying orders to close. On Sunday, Dubai police arrested a European citizen for refusing to leave a beach.

The economic fight

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, and authorities react with shuttering businesses and closing borders, analysts have begun to sound the alarm that the coronavirus will cause an economic recession, which may kill more people than the virus.

The UAE government has responded by opening its considerable coffers to help the economy and those effected. On March 14, the UAE Central Bank announced a 100 billion dirham ($27.2 billion) economic support scheme to support the country’s banking system. Two days earlier, Dubai announced a smaller 1.5 billion dirham package for businesses.

Credit ratings company Moody’s Investors Service said later that the central bank’s package would “soften coronavirus’ blow to economy and banks.”

On Sunday, the UAE approved an additional 16 billion dirhams, which has brought the total economic stimulus package to 126 billion dirhams in the country, according to a Tweet from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of the emirate of Dubai.

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Last Update: 08:56 KSA 11:56 - GMT 08:56
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