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UK: People arriving from UAE ordered to isolate amid virus fears | Coronavirus pandemic News

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New measures imposed as number of cases rise in UAE, a country which has become a hub for Europeans fleeing lockdowns.

The United Kingdom removed the United Arab Emirates from its travel corridors list on Monday, following a surge of COVID-19 cases in the Gulf country.

The move took effect at 04:00 GMT on Tuesday and means travellers arriving in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland from the UAE are required to self-isolate for 10 days.

The decision by the UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) came as a number of British celebrities and social media influencers have shared photos and videos online of their holiday trips to Dubai, an Emirati city known for its five-star luxury hotels and beaches.

“The decision has been made following a significant acceleration in the number of imported cases, along with the number of reported new cases over the past 7 days, which have risen in the UAE by 52 percent,” the DfT said on Monday.

Under the UK’s existing rules, passengers arriving from all international destinations, including the UAE, must present a negative COVID-19 test result taken up to three days before departing for England or Scotland.

The UAE has adopted entry requirements designed to boost tourism despite the pandemic, and hotels, restaurants and bars are open for business.

Last week, the Financial Times reported that “party city” Dubai, also the UAE’s trade hub, had become an “escape hatch as Europe locks down”, for British, French and Russian tourists fleeing strict social distancing restrictions.

 

Throughout the UAE, the number of new daily COVID cases has risen sharply in recent weeks.

The Gulf state does not disclose where in the country infections or deaths take place and has not recently announced new measures to prevent the pandemic’s spread.

In total, it has recorded more than 230,000 cases and 711 deaths, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Authorities in the UAE, which has a population of about nine million people, said last week that 826,301 vaccines had been administered as of January 5, without specifying which type.

They added the country aimed to vaccine more than 50 percent of the population in the first quarter of this year.

Last week, Abu Dhabi started phase three clinical trials of Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine.

The UAE is also conducting phase three trials of a vaccine developed by the China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm). The vaccine has been approved for use in the country and it is available for free to anybody who wants it, with priority given to more vulnerable individuals, according to the UAE’s health ministry.

Dubai also began inoculating people last month with the vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech.

Meanwhile, in the UK, the number of recorded COVID cases has now risen to more than 3.1 million. The country’s overall death toll from the pandemic stands at nearly 82,000 people – the fifth highest in the world.



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Cyclone Eloise affected 250,000 people in Mozambique, says UN | Weather News

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Eloise brought winds of up to 150km/h followed by torrential rain over port city of Beira and adjacent Buzi district.

A tropical cyclone that struck central Mozambique last week has affected 250,000 people, a sharp increase over initial estimates, according to a UN official.

Myrta Kaulard, the UN’s resident coordinator in Mozambique, added on Tuesday that 18,000 people were internally displaced after Cyclone Eloise made landfall in the early hours of Saturday.

“Yesterday, we were mentioning 170,000 people affected. Today, the official figures have climbed to 250,000,” Kaulard said in a video call with reporters at the UN, adding that 76 health centres and hundreds of classrooms were damaged.

“We also see widespread floods that are still there and a lot of people trying still to get out of the flooded areas,” she said.

Eloise brought winds of up to 150 kilometres per hour (90 miles per hour) followed by torrential rain over the port city of Beira, the capital of Mozambique’s Sofala province, and the adjacent Buzi district.

It weakened into a tropical storm as it moved inland to Zimbabwe, South Africa, eSwatini, formerly known as Swaziland and Botswana.

The death toll across the region rose to 14 on Tuesday after South Africa reported one more death.

In Mozambique, the cyclone hit an area already devastated by two successive super-storms in March and April 2019.

The first, Cyclone Idai, left more than 1,000 dead and caused damage estimated at about $2bn.

People queue for food at the accommodation centre in Tica after their villages were flooded due to the passage of Cyclone Eloise [Andre Catueira/EPA]

An international aid group warned on Tuesday that crowded centres for storm survivors created ideal conditions for the coronavirus to spread.

In the port city of Beira alone, 8,700 people are living in 16 temporary shelters after their homes were destroyed by the cyclone.

“Each tent I saw had at least 10 people packed into it and families are lacking access to safe water and essential items like soap and face masks,” said Marcia Penicela, project manager at ActionAid Mozambique following a visit to sites.

Espinola Caribe, head of the World Food Programme’s Beira sub-office, also said COVID-19 was a concern and people had to be moved out of danger.

“This was not a planned evacuation … this was running for your life,” he said.

Widespread flooding in the Buzi area of Mozambique after the landfall of Cyclone Eloise [Bruno Pedro/UNICEF/AFP]



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