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COVID-19 protocol: UK wrong to place UAE on the red list

There is absolutely no room for comparison between what the UAE has done and is doing to combat the spread of the COVID-19, and the measures of those countries that have put the UAE on the ‘red list’. This is not a blind defence of the country, but a fact that is backed by confirmed numbers and information.

So when we confirm that the UAE is one of the best countries in the world in terms of taking effective and continuous measures to combat the virus, the assertion is a fact, not an assumption.

Britain, for example, still insists on placing the UAE in the red list of countries — according to the spread of the virus, and the reason, according to British officials, is that the UAE is an international transit hub.

UAE indeed is a global hub but the British reasoning is askew. To showcase the UK’s baseless arguments, we have to make a quick comparison — by figures — to pinpoint the difference between the procedures taken by the UAE and the UK to combat the virus.

For starters, the UAE has been able to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus epidemic better than many international transit centres, including the United Kingdom.

High vaccination rate

Nearly 115 vaccine doses were provided for every 100 people in the UAE (until May 16, 2021). This ranks the UAE second in the world. The vaccination rate in the UAE is 40% higher than in the United Kingdom (82 per 100 people)!

One must note that Singapore is on the British “green” list, with 54 vaccine doses for every 100 people, and China and the Netherlands have been placed in the “orange” list, which requires infection detection tests and home quarantine, although they are 28 and 40 doses per 100 people, respectively!

The UAE ranked eighth, according to the Bloomberg Index in a measure that records the resilience of countries to face the coronavirus, thanks to the testing and the high vaccination rate, and according to the same index, the UAE is ahead of Britain by 10 ranks, and China by 4 ranks.

What is more, the UAE is ahead of the Netherlands by 25 ranks! British and others must be aware that the UAE airports and airlines apply similar safety measures — and in some cases more — than other international transit centres, and Dubai International Airport, which is the main transit point towards the UK from the UAE, received a 4-star rating from Skytrax for the safety rating in airports with regard to COVID-19.

Safe operation in airports

This rating comes after only 8 airports, in addition to Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah International Airport have obtained Airport Health Accreditation Programme from the Airports Council International. The programme provides guidance for safe operation in the airports.

Interestingly the Singapore and Changi Airports were placed on the British “green” list, as the two airports allow flights from approved cities and through approved airlines, and they have safety procedures and certificates. Dubai Airport obtained the same, so does the reason for transit apply to Dubai alone while it does not apply to others? Or is it quite simply a disguise to conceal other causes that the British harbour in their minds!

We can take another examples which is the airlines — Emirates Airlines came in second place and Etihad Airways ranked third in 2021 in terms of following travel safety measures/COVID-19 protocols. This ranking is among 230 airlines globally. Notably British Airways ranked 37!

The UAE applies COVID-19 measures to travellers even more strictly than the United Kingdom. UAE airlines do not fly to risky destinations. These measures and many others have made the UAE one of the most effective countries in confronting the virus, and the natural result of that was the return of life in various fields and facilities of the state.

While the country has become a benchmark to many nations and international organisations to confront the virus and prevent its spread, the British decision indeed seems baffling. It seems the UK move has nothing to do with the spread of the coronavirus. We are aware of it as they are. The real motives and cause is something else.

Sami Al Riyami is the Editor in Chief of Emarat Al Youm