Abu Dhabi boosts coronavirus restrictions as Gulf Covid case rates soar

Abu Dhabi boosts coronavirus restrictions as Gulf Covid case rates soar
The emirate has put limits on social gatherings and will ask visitors from elsewhere in the UAE to show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test
2 min read
28 December, 2021
The UAE, Qatar and wider Gulf are experiencing a large coronavirus uptick [AFP/Getty-file photo]

Abu Dhabi announced on Tuesday that it would step up its coronavirus restrictions as the virulent Omicron strain continues its rapid spread through the Gulf region.

The UAE on Sunday reported 1,803 new Covid-19 infections - the highest daily tally since late June - although the death toll remains low with just two deaths from the virus recorded that day.

From Thursday, visitors to the emirate of Abu Dhabi from elsewhere in the UAE will have to show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test with results no older than 96 hours.

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The UAE said Monday that it had greenlit a new coronavirus jab produced by Chinese pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm as a booster vaccine, according to The National.

It will be given to people already double vaccinated with a Sinopharm jab with the new vaccine using different technology.

On Sunday Abu Dhabi had brought in new rules for social gatherings.

Gatherings occurring indoors are capped at 50 attendees, while 150 is the limit for outdoor occasions. Home meetups must be kept to 30 or less.

Previous rules such as social distancing and mask use will remain in place.

Gulf state Qatar reported its highest number of new coronavirus infections since 25 May on Monday, at 343.

This figure increased to 367 on Tuesday, the same rate as seen on 21 May, with 18 people in intensive care with Covid-19.

There was no data available on how many of the new cases in Qatar on Monday and Tuesday were of the Omicron variant.

The country recorded its first four Omicron infections on 17 December.

Qatar's daily Covid death toll has remained consistently low, with just one person succumbing to the illness on Monday and none on Tuesday.

Both Qatar and the UAE have high double vaccination rates.