Life back to normal in GCC nations

Very few COVID-19 cases being reported, vaccination drive on in full swing

Life in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries have almost returned to normalcy with the COVID-19 cases almost ebbing away and community vaccination drive commencing in phased manner and in cities and in full-swing in Dubai.

At the same time, the Health Department in these nations have taken precautionary measures against the new coronavirus variants that emerged in the U.K., Japan and South Africa which experts declare are more significant and more transmissible. Already they have appealed to the public to strictly follow guidelines to prevent the spread of the disease.

The GCC nations are now reporting fewer number of active cases. In the UAE, the number of active cases is hovering around 25,000, while in Saudi Arabia the positive cases is around 2,000, and Qatar and Bahrain below 3,000, Kuwait 4500 and Sultanate of Oman around 6,000.

Business picking up

Business is picking up and no signs of the pandemic could be seen except for people wearing mask. Despite low footfall, malls, cinemas, hotels and restaurants are open. People have been strictly asked to adhere to the guidelines such as physical distancing. Gatherings and get-together parties have restrictions on number of people attending them. Worshippers can enter mosques only five minutes before prayer.

In Dubai, schools have reopened with strict COVID-19 safety measures in place and in Abu Dhabi , schools are offering only off-site learning for the first two weeks of the new school term till January 17. Schools have not reopened in Saudi Arabia that has the second second highest Non-Resident Indian population after the UAE among GCC nations.

Two vaccines

At present, two vaccines in the UAE – Sinopharm and Pfizer-BioNTech – are available for use on eligible individuals against the COVID-19 infection. Both the vaccines are free of charge to its citizens and residents.

Meantime, the UAE Ministry of Health has slammed rumours involving COVID-19 vaccines and also issued a statement urging people to obtain information from official and reliable sources. All those propagating fake information will be held legally accountable, it said.

Lack of flights

The only drawback faced by most expatriates is lack normalisation of commercial flights from India to many sectors in the GCC. There are no return flights to Saudi Arabia as of now. Flights are, however, operating under air bubble agreement between India and GCC nations

Also India is not on the green list of countries where international travellers – both residents and tourists – travelling to the UAE are exempted from quarantine.

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