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UAE Welcomes Back Tourists while Confronting Coronavirus Spike
Worshippers at a mosque in the emirate of Sharjah practice social distancing while at prayer on July 1. (Karim Sahib/AFP via Getty Images)

UAE Welcomes Back Tourists while Confronting Coronavirus Spike

The United Arab Emirates on Tuesday began admitting foreign tourists back into the country after closing its borders months ago due to the coronavirus pandemic. The tourists must bring certification of negative testing for the illness or submit themselves to testing at their airport of entry. Nevertheless, a government spokesperson announced that the country will embark on an ambitious plan to test some 2 million people, or about one-fifth of the population, over the coming two months, with a spike in new cases having followed a relaxation in closures, curfews and other restrictions. “While it is worrying to see a slight increase in cases in the past few days, it is a reminder that we all should be responsible and committed to follow health practices,” spokesperson Amna al-Shamsi said in a statement. Just one day before the borders were reopened to tourists, the UAE recorded 528 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total infections to 52,068, with 324 deaths. The daily rate topped 700 over the weekend after having peaked at about 900 in May. The emirate of Dubai delayed Expo 2020, a world’s fair set to open in October, until October 2021, with the pandemic cited as the reason. Some 11 million people were expected to come from abroad to attend.

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