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Adapting to the new normal: Abu Dhabi will resume all economic and tourism activities in two weeks

The Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee announced this week that it has begun working with local authorities to resume all economic, tourism, cultural and entertainment activities in the emirate within two weeks.

As the world continues to adapt to life under COVID-19, we are seeing more and more countries open up to return to a semblance of normal Abu Dhabi is now the latest to join in this effort Dubai opened its doors to tourists in July

As the world continues to adapt to life under COVID-19, we are seeing more and more countries open up to return to a semblance of normal, or rather, a “new normal.” Abu Dhabi is now the latest to join in this effort. 

The Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee announced this week that it has begun working with local authorities to resume all economic, tourism, cultural and entertainment activities in the emirate within two weeks (Dubai opened its doors to tourists in July).

The Committee said that this follows the success achieved by implementing precautionary measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 and maintain a low rate of cases in the Emirate. 

Additionally, the statement assured the public that efforts to contain the spread of the virus, including active tracing and testing programs, and the humanitarian efforts that are supporting social stability, will continue after the Emirate opens up. 

While Abu Dhabi residents wait for the Emirate to resume state-wide activities, they can now register to take the vaccine that the UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) approved this week

The vaccine is developed by China’s Sinopharm CNBG, and is supposedly 86% effective against COVID-19 infection. It is 100% effective in preventing moderate and severe cases of the disease, Khaleej Times reported. 

Other vaccines in Abu Dhabi and in the GCC are being tested, while others have already been approved. You can find a list of these here.

While vaccines will certainly help Abu Dhabi and the overall region resume travel activities and reinvigorate the Middle East economy, recovery will take a notable period of time.

In October, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) downgraded its traffic forecast for the Middle East for 2020 to reflect a weaker-than-expected recovery. The region is expected to see 60 million travelers in 2020 compared to the 203 million in 2019, down 70%, with a full return to 2019 levels not expected until late 2024.   

Dubai Airport CEO Paul Griffiths spoke extensively with media in October, saying that he believes that the current quarantine policy that is in place in many places across the world, entailing that travelers must self-quarantine for 14 days upon entry into a country, is “actually doing more damage than any of the other single measure because people don’t have the time to be able to spend up to [2 weeks] in quarantine upon reaching their destination.”  

With vaccines soon becoming available, business and leisure travelers will hopefully be more incentivized to fly again.