By Gavin Gibbon
88% of recent coronavirus detections are from public gatherings, with people not abiding by quarantine rules
The UAE's National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority on Thursday urged citizens and residents to be more vigilant after announcing that new daily coronavirus cases in the country totalled 930, a recent high, with five further deaths.
The numbers represent a four-month high and a five times increase compared to a month ago when just 179 daily cases were reported.
The authority urged a "one challenge, one destiny" approach after it was revealed that 88 percent of recent coronavirus detections were from public gatherings, with people not abiding by quarantine rules.
Among the factors associated with the increase in new cases were a leniency in abiding by rules of social distancing and face masks while some shopping malls failed to reduce capacity as instructed by authorities.
"We observed that some individuals ignored the emergence of symptoms, did not seek medical help and deliberately continued to mix with others," spokesperson Dr Farida Al Hosani, adding: "The increase in cases of infection requires all of us to renew our cooperation and commitment and bring back our achievements."
The authority criticised many private schools in the UAE for not taking precautionary measures seriously despite being issued regulations by the Ministry of Health. More inspections are being planned to catch violators.
The authority also stressed the need to quarantine for 14 days if someone is in contact with someone with coronavirus.
The UAE has so far recorded 76,911 cases of coronavirus, including 67,945 recoveries and 398 deaths.
The announcement came as coronavirus cases in the wider Middle East from Morocco to Pakistan topped two million, the World Health Organisation said on Thursday.
The caseload for the 21 countries has more than doubled since July 1, the UN agency said.Regional director Ahmed Mandhari warned that even countries like Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia, which had kept their infection rates under control, were now facing significant upticks.
The WHO listed the hardest-hit countries as Iran with more than 393,000 cases, Saudi Arabia with more than 320,000, Pakistan with just under 300,000 and Iraq with nearly 274,000.
Mandhari said that a number of factors threatened to raise infection rates further -- the resumption of international travel across much of the region, the start of the new school year and the beginning of the flu season.
It is now six months since the WHO declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic.
Worldwide, there have been more than 27.7 million confirmed virus cases, according to an AFP count based on official statistics, with the worst-hit region Latin America and the Caribbean, followed by Europe.
Officials in the UAE on Tuesday re-iterated calls for the public to maintain social distancing and avoid large gatherings.