UAE daily coronavirus cases cross 3,000 as authorities push vaccine




  • In US
  • 2021-01-13 10:36:42Z
  • By Reuters
 

DUBAI (Reuters) - The daily number of COVID-19 cases in the United Arab Emirates crossed the 3,000 threshold for the first time this week as authorities in the Middle East's business and tourism hub urged people to accept vaccinations.

The health ministry late on Tuesday reported 3,243 new daily infections and six deaths. That was the highest in the Gulf Arab region where daily cases in each of the other five states have fallen below 500.

The surge in infections in the UAE, an international travel hub, prompted Britain to remove the country from its travel corridors list on Tuesday.

Most coronavirus restrictions have been lifted in the UAE, but social distancing and mask-wearing in public are still required. Visitors have flocked to Dubai during its peak winter tourism season as other countries impose new lockdowns.

The Gulf Arab state has also ramped up its immunisation campaign, ranking second behind Israel in terms of its vaccination rate. Emirati officials have said they aim to vaccinate more than 50% of its roughly 9 million population in the first quarter of this year.

"Taking the vaccine is every individual's responsibility to protect their health, families and wider society," UAE Vice-President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who is also ruler of Dubai, said in a Twitter post on Tuesday.

The UAE has approved the vaccine developed by Sinopharm's China National Pharmaceutical Group and has made it available to the general public. Dubai emirate is inoculating people with the vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTec.

The UAE is participating in Phase III trials for the Sinopharm vaccine and for Russia's Sputnik V shot.

In total, the UAE has recorded 236,225 infections and 717 deaths. The total for the six Gulf Arab states stands at more than 1.12 million coronavirus cases, with Saudi Arabia holding the highest individual count at 364,096.

(Writing by Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by David Goodman)

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