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Flags of Israel and United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates has joined Israel’s Health Ministry is returning its population to indoor masks in light of the start of a fifth wave of COVID-19, according to a report published by Gulf Business.

UAE National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA) spokesperson Dr. Taher Al Ameri told reporters Monday at a COVID-19 briefing that face masks are “one of the most important factors” in thwarting the risk of contagion from the virus.

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However, he said, “various segments of the community have recently shown negligence in adhering to wearing face masks in closed areas,” and noted that those who don’t mask up will be fined up to AED 3,000 (about $817 or NIS 2,816) in accordance with a 2020 regulation.

The NCEMA blamed “Negligence and recklessness in following precautionary measures” for the rise in the number of coronavirus infections and “new waves of cases.”

As in Israel, the number of coronavirus infections has risen in the UAE, with a corresponding rise in hospitalization rates. The number of COVID-19 cases has doubled in the past week, Al Ameri noted.

The UAE on Monday also reduced the validity time of its Green Pass (which is still used in the country) from 30 to 14 days, effective June 15, due to a four-month high in the number of infections.

The country’s health ministry reported 1,319 new infections on June 13, raising the nationwide case count to 918,815.

In Israel, those numbers would probably be welcomed at this point, as the fifth wave of COVID-19 starts to spread throughout the country.

As of Tuesday morning, 7,330 new cases of the virus were diagnosed in Israel over the past 24 hours, with a positivity rate of 24.95 percent.

There were 103 serious cases of the virus, but there has been no corresponding rise in the number of daily fatalities, which remains at two per day.

The “R” number, which stood at 1.51, indicates the rate of contagion is rising. Any “R” number higher than “1” indicates the rate of infection is rising.

Israel’s Health Ministry urged those in the country to take precautions – in particular, to return to wearing face masks indoors and in large gatherings.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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