Has my life returned to normal? Yes, to a large extent. I go to the office every day. I do my shopping every week. There has been occasional trawling in shopping centers. I even caught the Dubai metro and the bus a few times. My life goes on, without interruption.
When much of the world is confined to a time of coronavirus, my freedom is a luxury. A luxury offered by the strict application of COVID-19 security protocols in Dubai and the rest of the United Arab Emirates. The congested roads at rush hour tell me that I am not the only one going out. Life in the UAE is close to normal.
What gives me the confidence to walk into a cafe or take public transport? Well I had COVID-19. But that was eight months ago. Still, I am not afraid of reinfection. Simply because the people around me follow security protocols.
I am always masked when I leave my house. People around me are wearing masks. You cannot enter any establishment – business or leisure – without wearing a mask. Which means everyone wears a mask. This is perhaps the main reason why the rate of infections and deaths has remained low.
Vaccination campaigns have been underway for several weeks and the UAE is in second place in the race for vaccination. And people haven’t given up on masks. All awareness campaigns emphasize the need to continue wearing masks until there is clear evidence that the viral threat has subsided.
Everyone wears a disinfectant. But this is also not necessary because disinfectant dispensers are everywhere. You just need the urge to disinfect. And people use it. I was curious and saw people disinfect their hands frequently.
Social distancing is also generally followed. Only in supermarkets, compliance is low. And the metro during rush hour is crowded. At the height of the COVID-19 storm, metro staff were limiting the number of people on trains from each station.
More than a year has passed since the novel coronavirus first appeared in Wuhan, China. After around 1.9 million deaths and over 90 million infections, we have several vaccines to curb the spread of the virus. Immunization programs around the world will take some time to come into effect. Until then, we will continue to wear masks. Ignore the snipers on social media about people wandering Dubai without a mask. They do not know. We know.
Otherwise, the Indian Premier League would not have left India for the United Arab Emirates. Cristiano Ronaldo would not have come last week. It’s not just the celebrities heading to Dubai; job seekers are back too.
Tourists arrive in droves. This is what the TBEN said. “Dubai opens up to tourists while the rest of the world is locked in,” the title claims. And he quotes a New York banker saying it’s the only place he knows where you can live your normal life. He is right. My life is back to normal. All you need is a face mask.