Visitors to Expo Dubai without masks after easing COVID-19 prevention measures

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Dubai (AFP) – Many visitors to the Expo 2020 Dubai, the largest global event organized in attendance since the Covid-19 epidemic, abandoned masks on Monday, after the UAE eased restrictions related to the virus in an attempt to return to normal life.

Men, women and children at the Expo, the $7 billion world fair with more than 190 pavilions, were seen roaming the huge site without masks.

The UAE abolished the requirement to wear masks outdoors on weekends, but kept it mandatory for indoor places.

The National Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management Authority said that the decision comes “in line with the state’s strategy to create a balance between public health and various vital sectors and in support of national efforts to achieve sustainable recovery.”

For their part, the Expo organizers announced in a statement on Sunday that masks are no longer required outdoors, but “guests and staff are invited to continue to do so at popular entertainment venues with a large presence.”

The UAE recorded more than 879,000 injuries, including 2,301 deaths. Dubai, whose economy is heavily dependent on tourism, was one of the first destinations to welcome visitors in July 2020, in parallel with a major national vaccination campaign.

The UAE has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, with more than 95 percent of eligible people out of its population of about 10 million fully vaccinated against the virus, according to government data.

The authorities were relying on the exhibition, which lasts six months until the end of March, to attract millions of visitors and boost the economy, which has been hit hard by the epidemic.

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