UAE may impose virus curbs on unvaccinated people, official says

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FILE PHOTO: Dubai aims to vaccinate 70% of population by end of 2021

DUBAI (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates has warned it could impose restrictions on people who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 as the region's business and tourism hub pushes its immunisation campaign.

The country of some 9 million, which has widened the campaign to those aged 16 and above, has vaccinated about 65% of the eligible population, the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA) said on Tuesday.

"Strict measures are being considered to restrict the movement of unvaccinated individuals and to implement preventive measures such as forbidding entry to some places and having access to some services," NCEMA spokesman Saif Al Dhaheri said.

"Your hesitation today is an obstacle to our goals, it puts your family, loved ones and community at risk," he added.

The Gulf Arab state on Tuesday recorded 1,903 new infections to bring its total to 500,860 cases with 1,559 deaths.

The UAE, where social distancing and mask-wearing in public are required, is among the countries with the world's fastest COVID-19 vaccination programmes.

Abu Dhabi will now offer the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in addition to China's Sinopharm shot, the emirate's health authority said in an update on Wednesday.

Dubai emirate had already been offering the Pfizer vaccine as well as the one made by AstraZeneca.

(Reporting by Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Robert Birsel)