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Dubai Expo visitors must be vaccinated or COVID-free, says organisers

Dubai Expo 2020 starts on October 1 after a year-long delay. Source: Reuters

DUBAI: Expo 2020 Dubai organisers said that entry to the world fair for visitors over 18 years old would be restricted to those who had been vaccinated against COVID-19 or had tested negative in the previous 72 hours.

For months, the state organiser had said visitors would not have to be vaccinated or present a negative COVID-19 test to gain entry to the Expo, which starts on October 1 after a year-long delay caused by the global health crisis.

“We will continue to follow the guidance of the leading science and medical experts, adjusting our measures as appropriate,” Expo 2020 Dubai Director General Reem Al Hashimy said in statement. “This enhanced measure is responsible, agile and necessary as we prepare to open our doors to the world.”

Dubai, which reopened to foreign visitors in July 2020, requires most overseas arrivals to present a negative COVID-19 test before boarding their flight to the emirate. Those arriving from certain countries are also tested on arrival.

For the Expo, vaccines recognised by a visitor’s home country will be accepted, while polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for COVID-19 will be offered for free to ticket holders, the organiser said.

Officials have stuck to a pre-pandemic target of 25 million total visitors to pass through the gates of the Expo, more than twice the size of the UAE’s roughly 10 million population.

The previous Expo in Milan in 2015 attracted 21.5 million visitors. The UAE is reporting around 600 daily infections, down from a February peak of about 4,000 after foreign tourists flocked to Dubai over the winter.

The government does not disclose where in the country infections are taking place. Face masks remain mandatory in public and capacity restrictions are enforced in public places. Organisers had already said that all those working at Expo would be fully vaccinated. The country has fully vaccinated 80% of its population.

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