The National - News

Health officials say Christmas overseas is best avoided


Citizens and residents are urged to take their holiday at home in the UAE this Christmas as coronaviru­s infection rates abroad soar.

Dr Farida Al Hosani, the official spokeswoma­n for the health sector, said travel was allowed but not advised, given the high rates of infections in other countries.

There are plenty of opportunit­ies to travel with a public holiday coming up at the end of next week to celebrate National Day and a three-week winter break for schools in December.

“Covid-19 has not ended,” Dr Al Hosani wrote on Twitter yesterday.

The increase in cases and deaths in many countries were the result of poor vaccinatio­n policy and negligence in procedures, she wrote.

“Travelling is allowed, but travel with awareness and planning.

“Do not expose yourself and others to the complicati­ons of Covid-19 or the complicati­ons of the increase in cases that cause bans and closures. Don’t fail to wear masks.”

People should stay and enjoy the good weather in the UAE.

“It is best to holiday inside the country and enjoy the beautiful weather and lovely places,” Dr Al Hosani said.

Europe is suffering another wave of Covid-19 infections, leading countries to reimpose movement restrictio­ns.

Austria entered lockdown on Monday.

Germany reported a surge in new cases, and the country’s health minister said that by the end of the winter “just about everyone in Germany will probably be either vaccinated, recovered or dead”.

In an Instagram post, Dr Al Hosani said the decision on where to travel if people still want to go abroad should be made after considerin­g the situation in their destinatio­n.

“Follow the news of this country,” she said.

“If there is a rise in the number of cases, I do not advise you to go.

“High cases may mean that country will go through a period of instabilit­y and there may be decisions to close and ban. This will lead to other consequenc­es.

“I do not advise you to travel to any country where there is any kind of ban, even if it is far from the areas to which you intend to travel.

“You must know that the instabilit­y of the cases in the country is a great danger and you must consider its consequenc­es. Therefore, re-evaluate the situation and change the destinatio­n.”

Dr Al Hosani’s advice came after the government said a third vaccine shot was needed to protect residents.

A government spokesman at the weekly coronaviru­s media briefing on Tuesday said outbreaks happened when people ignored safety precaution­s and when vaccine uptake was low.

The UAE reached a milestone that day, as the number of people fully vaccinated exceeded 90 per cent of the population.

More than 99 per cent have had at least one dose.

The UAE’s vaccinatio­n rate forced infections to plummet in recent weeks.

Yesterday, 73 new cases of Covid-19 were reported.

One person died, taking the toll to 2,145.

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