Dubai, United Arab Emirates (AP) – Mask from the moment you go inside. Bars are full and pulsing like 2019. Social media stars waving bottles of champagne. DJ Spinning party tunes through multi-hour brunch.
After becoming one of the first destinations in the world to open up to tourism, Dubai in the United Arab Emirates has established itself as an ideal epidemic vacation destination. Analysts say it is unaffordable otherwise, as the virus shakes the foundations of the city-state economy.
With its cave malls, crazy constructions and legions of foreign workers, Dubai was built on the promise of globalization., Mostly from the aviation, hospitality and retail sectors – all hard affected by the virus.
Now the reality attracts the big dream emirate. With the hectic tourist season, coronavirus infections are rising at unprecedented heights. Daily case counts have nearly tripled in the past month, prompting Britain to close its travel corridor with Dubai last week. But in the face of a growing economic crisis, the city will not make the cut.
“Dubai’s economy is home to cards,” said Matthew Page, a non-resident scholar at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “Its competitive advantage is the location where the rules do not apply.”
Most countries banned tourists from the UK for fear of the type of virus spreading there, while Dubai, home to about 240,000 British expats, kept its doors open for the holidays. The Emirates flew five daily flights to London’s Heathrow Airport.
Within days, the strain of the new virus had swept across the emirate, but it did not stop reality TV and soccer stars from escaping the winter weather for Britain’s L’Bars Cadown and Dubai’s bars and beaches – without taking coronavirus testing before boarding. Scenes of pre-epidemic fun erupted in British tabloids. Faced with the reaction, Instagram influencers turned their attention to Russian yacht parties, they were quick to declare their trip “essential”.
Enjoyed the flow in Dubai. Data Provider STR Accordingly, the hotel occupancy rate has increased by 711% in December. The London-Dubai route is the busiest in the world in the first week of January, said aviation data analysis company OAG.
Iris Sabellano of Dubai’s Al Arabi travel agency said, “The epidemic has already subsided among the people,” adding that many of their clients were forced to isolate themselves after testing positive for the virus upon arrival or before departure. Passengers coming from the list of countries of choice do not need to take tests before their journey, but all must be at Dubai airport.
“With the vaccines coming out, they think it’s not the end of the world, they won’t die.”
For those who died of Covid-19, the long-haul airline Emirates offered to pay up to 1,800 to cover the cost of the funeral.
It looks like a sack that encloses with a drawstring. Israeli tourists, who used to come in thousands after the normalization deal between the countries, have disappeared due to the new rules. The decision to suspend visa waivers for Israelis in the UAE until July came into effect on Monday. Britain’s move to make 10-day quarantine mandatory for returnees from Dubai is a threat to the tourism sector.
David Tarsh, a spokesman for ForwardKeez, a company that analyzes tourist data, said the UK has such a significant following for tourists and investors in Dubai. “Cutting that pipeline … is a complete tragedy for the city.”
British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tweeted that the government’s decision has been questioned by the UAE’s latest virus data. In addition to daily infections, the data are short. The UAE does not provide public information about disease clusters or hospital admissions.
More than 256,000 cases and 751 deaths have been reported in the country amid the aggressive testing campaign.
On Tuesday, dozens of cars were waiting for tests at the drive-in coronavirus clinic on the outskirts of Dubai’s desert. The waiting time is extended to two hours, said a guard at the American H Hospital Spital in Dubai, where tests are carried out for the virus in a makeshift tent parking lot. At least 80 people lined up as the afternoon prayer call echoed overhead.
Hours after the story was published by the Associated Press, a statement was issued by Sheddom’s government-run Dubai Media Office Fees. “Maintaining the highest level of protection against epidemics and adherence to preventive measures,” said Emirates.
Analysts estimate that the UAE’s unique demographic figures – 90% foreign, mostly healthy, young labor – prevent well-staffed hospitals from overflowing and keep mortality rates low at 0.3%.
But it could not help Dubai’s more conservative neighbor and the country’s capital, Abu Dhabi. Without disclosure, Abu Dhabi has maintained its border with Free Wheeling Dubai despite promises to reopen by Christmas. Anyone entering Abu Dhabi must present a negative coronavirus test.
Relations between service-heavy Dubai and oil-rich Abu Dhabi could be strained. During the 2009 financial crisis, Abu Dhabi needed to save Dubai with a આ 20 billion bailout. This time, it is unclear whether Dubai can count on another cash stimulus in the wake of the crash in global oil prices.
Even before the epidemic, Dubai’s economy is heading for another recession thanks to a weakened real estate market, which has seen prices fall by 30% since the 2014 peak. Companies affiliated with the emirate and its government face billions of dollars in debt payments. Already the government has taken steps to help the carrier emirate, which received 2 2 billion in aid last year. Other companies that have invested in hospitality and tourism may need help, especially as events such as the World Expo have pushed back a year. A rating agency called S&P Global estimates that Dubai’s debt burden would be 148% of GDP if state-linked industries were included.
Under pressure, authorities have seized vaccines as the only way to spread the epidemic. There are plastered stories on the front page of state-affiliated newspapers using mass inoculation drives, which officials claim is the second fastest pace in the world after Israel, with 19 doses distributed for every 100 people as of Tuesday.
The UAE is giving everyone a Chinese coronavirus vaccine synopharm, as well as a lack of data and details in the announcement about the effectiveness of the shot. Demand has snatched supplies for the Pfizer-Bioentech vaccine in Dubai, where hotline operators say thousands of high-risk residents are on the waiting list.
With the country breaking its infection record for seven consecutive days, the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, declared that comprehensive vaccinations, not movement restrictions, would “accelerate our country’s full recovery.”
But if Dubai achieves its target of inclusion of 70% of the population by the end of 2021, Moody’s Investors Service expects it will take three years for the UAE’s economy to recover.
“I don’t think the days in Dubai are numbered,” said Page, a Carnegie scholar. “But it would be a more sustainable place if the city was more polite and responsible.”
John Gambrel, author of the Associated Press in Dubai, contributed to the report.