Abu Dhabi has a new approach to reopening: only allow vaccinated people in public. The capital city of the United Arab Emirates announced the new restrictions on Twitter late Monday evening, says CBS News.
- Unvaccinated individuals will be banned from nearly all public places in Abu Dhabi, reports CNN.
- The new restrictions have been under consideration since April and will go into effect on Aug. 20, says CNBC.
City officials have decided that high vaccination rates will allow reopening for vaccinated individuals with proactive measures to contain future outbreaks, reports CBS News.
What are vaccinations like in Abu Dhabi?
According to city officials, Abu Dhabi has vaccinated 93% of its residents. Home to just over 10 million people, the city has strongly pushed its vaccination campaign and now has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, reports CNN.
- Initially, Abu Dhabi only offered the Chinese Sinopharm vaccines because of a joint venture between the pharmaceutical company and an Abu Dhabi-based tech company, says CNBC.
- Now, the city has begun offering doses of the Pfizer vaccine as booster shots, says CNBC.
What are the new regulations for unvaccinated people?
Beginning Aug. 20, only vaccinated individuals will be allowed to enter public spaces. Unvaccinated people will not be able to enter shopping centers, cafes, restaurants, gyms, sports activities, retail outlets, museums, theme parks, resorts and nurseries as well as public and private universities and schools, reports CNN.
- Unvaccinated people will only be allowed to enter shops selling essential goods, such as pharmacies and supermarkets, says CBS News.
The new restrictions sparked strong criticism online, says CNBC.
The Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee has approved allowing only those vaccinated to enter some public places, after vaccinating 93 per cent of target groups in the emirate and to preserve public health. pic.twitter.com/KUGz9YWqTa— مكتب أبوظبي الإعلامي (@admediaoffice) June 28, 2021
This week, Abu Dhabi also approved the use of EDE facial scanners for detecting COVID-19 cases, says Time Out. The scanners — which had a 93% effectiveness in trial groups — will be installed at select locations throughout the city such as outside shopping malls, residential areas and ports of entry.
- “The technology measures electromagnetic waves, which change when the RNA particles of the virus are present in the person’s body, giving an immediate positive or negative result,” according to Time Out.
- If identified as a possible COVID-19 case, people cannot enter the venue and must get a PCR test within 24 hours, says Time Out.
What does this mean for tourists and travelers?
So far, Abu Dhabi officials have not clarified if the new restrictions will apply to nonresident visitors or other tourists, says CNBC.
- Dubai, the neighboring city and tourist hub, is not implementing the same restrictions, reports CNN.