Covid concerns trouble Expo 2020

30 December 2021
Organisers say venues may be temporarily closed for deep cleaning and sanitisation after positive cases were detected

The rising number of Covid-19 cases in the UAE has created more difficulties for the organisers of Expo 2020 Dubai.

In an official statement on 27 December, organisers said "venues may [close] temporarily for deep cleaning and sanitisation in response to positive cases detected by extensive workforce testing protocols, as well as for maintenance, private events and staff shortages".

No details on the number of cases detected at the expo site were mentioned. A restaurant named Sushiro, part of the Japanese pavilion, reported positive cases on 21 December among staff members and was subsequently shut down.

Meanwhile, media will be required to present 48-hour PCR negative reports prior to accessing the media centre from 30 December. Free tests are available at the Expo testing centres, provided a valid media accreditation pass is shown.

Previously on 21 December, the organisers announced the temporary cancellation of close-contact events such as parades and roving entertainers, and the addition of another PCR testing centre on-site.

Celebrations in the run-up to New Year's day remain in place, including concerts and firework displays. A festive pass for Expo, valid until 31 December, has now been extended to 7 January 2022.

Organisers say that the "health, safety and wellbeing of everyone continue to be of the highest priority and organisers remain committed to working with participants to welcome visitors to a safe and exceptional Expo".

The UAE reported 2,234 new Covid-19 cases on 29 December, the highest in six months. The government has also approved the emergency use of Sinopharm's protein-based Covid-19 vaccine as a booster dose starting January 2022.

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