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  • Writer's pictureCorinna

Vaccines not lockdowns – Dubai's approach to beating the pandemic

Unlike other countries that are relying on imposing restrictions on its citizens and businesses during the second wave of the pandemic, Dubai has opted for a different strategy in beating the virus: inoculating its citizens and residents as quickly as possible.

The approach is clearly different from what other parts of the world have chosen as their response to rising infection numbers.

Speed, availability and willingness

The numbers speak for themselves: As of January 23 over 25% of the UAE’s population has been vaccinated against Covid with the aim to vaccinate half of the country’s inhabitants before the end of March.

An important factor that drives the vaccine campaign’s success is a high level of the population are willing to take the jab - or have already done so since its start end of December last year.

Additionally, the wide availability the vaccines, Sinopharm across the UAE, with the additional choice of Pfizer-Biontech for Dubai residents, make the vaccine drive the second fastest in the world currently. Even as the manufacturer of the Pfizer-Biontech vaccine has temporarily reduced global deliveries affecting respective appointments in Dubai*, whoever wants a vaccine, can get a vaccine in Dubai.

It is also important to know that the emirate has one of the lowest death- and hospitalization rates from COVID-19 in the world. This is in part due to its young demographics with the majority of its residents falling between the age of 25 to 54.

Avoiding a lock-down the second time around

By offering free vaccinations across the country, the UAE aims at full recovery in the shortest possible time. Unlike the first wave of the pandemic, the country is banking on vaccinations will help end the pandemic, not movement restrictions.

In particular, Dubai has ramped-up business activity in aviation, hospitality and retail. For everyone making a living and owning a business in Dubai, this is good news.

Nevertheless, there is still a long way to go. A recent spike in infection rates which are attributed to an influx of overseas visitors over with winter break have been met with localized measures, including a ban of live entertainment and restrictions on elective surgeries. But with the vaccination drive continuously moving forward, the overall sentiment in the country remains positive.

Restaurants getting creative in backing the vaccine

Creative support for the vaccine drive is also coming from one of the hardest hit industries - the hospitality industry.

Several restaurants in the Dubai have now started offering discounts to residents who have received the Covid-19 vaccine. By showing proof of the vaccine patrons will be able to avail the discount. The goal is to encourage people to go in for the vaccination and incentivize others to do their bit in the fight to stop the spread of the virus. Additionally, the more people have received their shot, the better staff and patrons will be protected.

While getting back to business-as-usual is the ultimate goal, physical distancing guidelines still remain intact in the restaurants, including limited the number of people per table and maintaining a three meter distance between tables.

Dubai’s positive outlook

The vaccination campaign represents an important step towards the return to normal life and the Dubai's expectations are that the economy will back back to normal during the second quarter of 2021.

The latest numbers predict a 4.0 % growth in consumption and demand levels in Dubai for 2021. The forecast is based on recent data on aviation and tourism, as well as Google’s daily data on the mobility of people across malls, restaurants, and other facilities. Retail business is also expected to gain momentum as a result of the confidence brought in by the vaccine, with the World Expo expected to contribute to the recovery. Additional data also revealed that Dubai’s airport was the busiest globally in passenger movement in December 2020.

* Status as of January 24, 2021

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