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Dubai tightens measures amid coronavirus outbreak

Dubai authorities on Saturday announced tighter measures to combat the novel coronavirus, as the number of cases in the United Arab Emirates surpassed 1,500.

For two weeks the movement of people and vehicles will be further restricted, with only one person per residence allowed to leave for “essential needs” such as food and medicine, according to the Dubai Media Office.

People working in “vital sectors” — including healthcare, media and delivery — are allowed to go out and supermarkets and pharmacies will remain in service.

Metro and tram services, however, will also be suspended.

In addition to movement restrictions, authorities announced “the extension of the sterilisation programme to 24 hours a day across all areas and communities in the emirate to protect the health and safety of the community”.

The measures went into effect at 8:00 p.m. (1600 GMT) on Saturday and are subject to renewal.

The authorities added that “extensive medical tests will be conducted across densely populated areas”.

The decision came shortly after the UAE announced on Saturday 241 new novel coronavirus infections — the highest single-day total since the outbreak in the country.

The Gulf state has now a total of 1,505 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 disease, and 10 deaths. It has enforced extensive lockdown measures to curb the spread of the illness including an ongoing night-time curfew.

The UAE has the second highest number of confirmed infections in the Gulf after Saudi Arabia, which has recorded more than 2,000 cases and 29 deaths.