World News

UAE coronavirus cases approach highest daily level since peak

DUBAI (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates on Thursday announced 930 new cases of coronavirus, the third-highest daily result since the pandemic began, and the government urged people to abide by measures to contain its spread.

FILE PHOTO: People walk at Mall of the Emirates during the reopening of malls, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, May 28, 2020. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

A health ministry official asked the public to adhere to social distancing and avoid gatherings and mixing with people known to have the virus, which she said accounted together for about 88% of cases.

Until last month, there had been a generally falling trend since new daily cases peaked at 994 in May, but numbers have surged from 164 cases on Aug. 3.

The Gulf Arab state has recorded 76,911 infections and 398 deaths from COVID-19. The government does not disclose where in the country of seven emirates the infections or deaths occurred. About 10 million people, mostly foreigners, live in the UAE.

It had earlier enforced strict measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, including locking down tourism hub Dubai for a month and months-long evening curfews nationwide.

Most business and public venues have now reopened with some restrictions, and people must wear a mask outside the home.

Dubai reopened to foreign visitors in July, although the rest of the country continues to ban tourists from entering.

Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital and the largest and richest emirate, has restricted movement into it to those with a negative COVID-19 test.

A government official warned in August that the curfew could be reinstated in some areas if the number of infections were high, though no such action has been taken.

Neighbouring Saudi Arabia has the highest COVID-19 toll among the six Gulf Arab states, with more than 323,720 infections and 4,189 deaths.

Reporting by Alexander Cornwell, Lisa Barrington, Nafisa Eltahir; Editing by Catherine Evans