Denmark suspends Dubai flights amid doubts over virus assessments

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Denmark has quickly suspended all flights from the United Arab Emirates for 5 days after suspicion arose that the coronavirus assessments that may be obtained earlier than leaving Dubai aren’t dependable, authorities introduced Friday.

The event, which comes amid a surge of infections within the UAE, poses a direct problem to the mass testing regime that had been the pillar of the nation’s coronavirus response and financial reopening. Dubai was one of many world’s first locations to speak in confidence to vacationers, welcoming guests from wherever with solely a coronavirus check.

Danish Transport Minister Benny Engelbrecht stated the choice was made to permit the matter to be completely investigated and be sure that the testing are being carried out correctly.

“We are able to’t ignore such a suspicion,” Engelbrecht stated, including that the ban entered into drive on Thursday evening.

Danish authorities confronted a “concrete and critical citizen inquiry into” how the assessments are carried out at Dubai entry and exit factors, he stated, and “due to this fact we should be completely positive that there aren’t any issues.”

Engelbrecht stated at the very least “one citizen” introduced the South African variant of the virus “again from Dubai.” He didn’t establish additional that individual. Dubai has seen a rise within the variety of South African residents because the nation’s financial system deteriorated in recent times.

Danish tabloid Ekstra Bladet stated Friday there was a second report of allegedly sloppy virus testing in Dubai, and cited Engelbrecht as saying “the data appear exact and legitimate.”

Since Jan. 9, Denmark has required that every one passengers arriving within the Scandinavian nation have a adverse coronavirus check or proof that they’ve just lately had COVID-19, the sickness brought on by the virus, to restrict the unfold of the virus.

In response to the transfer, UAE’s state-run WAM information company carried a press release from a International Ministry official stressing “that every one accredited UAE testing facilities are recurrently topic to strict high quality checks.”

Emirati authorities had been at present speaking with their Danish counterparts to make clear the explanations behind suspicions surrounding the virus testing, the assertion added, noting the federal government imposed powerful penalties for violations of worldwide testing requirements.

On Jan. 8, Denmark’s International Ministry suggested in opposition to all journey overseas, together with enterprise journey. On Tuesday, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen instructed native media that “there’s a motive why we actually ask everybody to not journey. It’s actually necessary that everybody listens.”

“There’s a threat of bringing (virus) mutations to Denmark,” she stated. “It may well undermine our epidemic management and thus infect others and what’s worse.”

In current days, a number of Danish celebrities, socialites and influencers — akin to former boxer Mikkel Kessler, former soccer worldwide Nicklas Bendtner and desk tennis ace Michael Maze — have traveled to Dubai and posted images of themselves on social media.

Lea Hvidt Kessler, the spouse of the previous super-middleweight world champion, wrote on Instagram that nobody of their household that traveled to Dubai earlier than Christmas was contaminated. In accordance with media in Denmark, there are at present 85 Danish nationals there and about 800 everlasting Danish residents in Dubai.

On Friday, because the UAE shattered its eleventh consecutive day by day an infection report with 3,552 new circumstances, Dubai’s state-run media workplace introduced strict new limits on weddings, social occasions and personal events starting subsequent Wednesday, limiting all gatherings to 10 quick members of the family. Marriage ceremony events at inns and different venues beforehand had been capped at 200.

The identical day, Dubai ordered all gyms and eating places to extend the bodily area between trainees and diners. The town additionally put a right away halt to all “leisure actions” on boats and floating eating places — a well-liked pastime within the metropolis. Vacationers and celebrities usually flaunt their holidays on social media, posting images of raucous, Champagne-soaked yacht events which have splashed throughout tabloids in current weeks. A day earlier, Dubai suspended all dwell bands and performances at nightclubs and bars within the metropolis after hospitals had been pressured to pause non-urgent surgical procedures to take care of an inflow of recent COVID-19 sufferers.

Vacationers have flocked to Dubai in current weeks regardless of the raging pandemic, escaping lockdowns again residence. The glimmering city-state, with an financial system largely constructed on tourism, aviation and retail, has promoted itself as an excellent pandemic trip spot. Other than the ever-present masks and hand sanitizer dispensers, a way of pre-pandemic normalcy prevails within the crowded bars, huge malls and luxurious inns.

Skyrocketing day by day infections, which almost tripled since November, did not dent the normalcy at the same time as extra contagious variants of the coronavirus raced across the globe. The UK, which like Denmark despatched droves of actuality TV and sports activities stars to Dubai, closed its journey hall with the UAE earlier this month.

Because the begin of the pandemic, the UAE has constructed its coronavirus response on an “early detection technique,” utilizing Chinese language-made coronavirus check kits to embark on one of many world’s finest testing campaigns at a time when different nations had been struggling to acquire and administer PCR assessments. As of Friday, the nation of roughly 9 million had performed some 24.2 million coronavirus assessments.

The U.S. State Division beforehand raised considerations that Chinese language testing materials was not correct, with out offering proof concerning the allegation.

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Related Press author Isabel DeBre in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed to this report.

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