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Rogue variants and virus “vortex” put the planners of Expo Dubai in a state of tension

Rogue variants and virus “vortex” put the planners of Expo Dubai in a state of tension

Dubai, United Arab Emirates- As the 2020 Dubai Expo approaches, the rogue virus variants, the launch of global vaccines and international travel restrictions have all been closely watched.

The face-to-face event may be the largest event in the history of the Arab world, costing billions of dollars, and took more than a decade to plan. It is now scheduled to take place on October 1, which is a year after being delayed by the pandemic.

Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State and Director General of Expo 2020 Dubai, told CNBC on Tuesday: “In the UAE, we are optimistic, but we are very realistic and pragmatic.”

“We are hopeful for the next five months, we will see a better and stronger overall situation,” Al Hashimy said. “In the end we may still encounter the still difficult vortex here and there, but in general, we hope that there will be more recovery.”

Despite the increase in global vaccination, more cases of COVID-19 have been reported globally in the past two weeks than in the first six months of the pandemic. India is struggling to deal with the deadly third wave of viruses, and rogue variants of the virus—such as the strains first discovered in South Africa and the United Kingdom—may still pose a major risk.

On January 16, 2021, people walk past the official logo of Expo 2020 Dubai near the Dubai Sustainability Pavilion. -The six-month World Expo is a milestone for the UAE. The emirate has spent US$8.2 billion on the jaw-dropping venue. In October 2021, the hope of strengthening soft power and restarting the economy will now open its doors.

Karim Sahib | AFP | Getty Images

An advisory group of the World Health Organization (WHO) also stated that it has found “evidence gaps” on how the Sinopharm vaccine, which has been widely promoted in the UAE, prevents “variations of concern” and its protection period, and that it needs to increase the dose.

The UAE ranks at the top of the global vaccination rankings. In recent months, the virus cases have stabilized at approximately 2,000 new infections per day. Sinopharm’s WHO emergency use approval decision will be made in the next few days.

The organizer’s goal is still to attract 25 million visitors to the Expo site. It is hoped that residents and curious pandemic-era tourists will be able to fill most of the empty parking lots and huge buildings that cover the expansive Expo site on the edge of the Dubai desert.

“During these 182 days, we still believe that we can attract this number,” Al Hashimy said, adding that ordinary tourists do not need to be vaccinated to participate, at least for now.

She added: “We are trying to do this in a responsible way, so we put on masks and maintained social distancing, and everyone was tested before they came in.”

Travel ban watch

The Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, held the last meeting of international participants for Expo 2020 Dubai on Tuesday. “We are ready to welcome 190 countries to the greatest event in the world,” he said in a tweet.

But five months later, target countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom are still banning or restricting travel to the UAE. Al Hashimy stated that the situation is “unstable” and the UAE is working to alleviate the worrying issues in the coming weeks and months.

When asked about travel restrictions that may affect attendance, Al Hashimy said: “We are having regular conversations with them to understand how we can change the current trajectory of development.”

Andrea Mattero Fontana, the European Union’s ambassador to the UAE, told CNBC on Tuesday: “I can’t wait to see the travel restrictions removed, but we must ensure that we can Remove these restrictions in case of risk.”

Although most areas of the EU are still under lockdown, a plan to relax restrictions on travelers who have been fully vaccinated with the EU-approved vaccine is being actively considered during the summer. Fontana added: “If we continue to roll out this vaccine distribution plan in the next few months, then in the next five months, our situation will be much better.”

Other countries with comprehensive travel bans, including Australia, have pointed to a virtual alternative.

“If people can’t travel, they will be able to participate in virtual events, and it can also attract a large number of Australians who do not live in Australia but can still enter Dubai,” said Australian Commissioner Justin McGowan (Justin McGowan). Expo 2020 Dubai, told CNBC.

“This is the harsh reality of the COVID pandemic,” Al Hashimy said. “We hope it will end or fail, but in fact it will exist for a while.”

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