The Latest: Abu Dhabi to close public spaces to unvaccinated

By The Associated Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Abu Dhabi, the oil-rich capital of the United Arab Emirates, has announced that a wide range of public places will soon be accessible only to those vaccinated against the coronavirus in a bid to encourage more people to get shots.

The Emirati government on Monday said that starting August 20, authorities will begin restricting access to shopping malls, restaurants, cafes, sporting activities, museums, gyms, schools and universities. The unvaccinated will effectively be barred from entering any business in the city except for supermarkets and pharmacies.

Abu Dhabi has already rolled out a “green pass” system that limits public access to those who have either received the shot or can show a negative virus test.

It comes as the country increasingly bets its economic reopening on its speedy vaccination campaign. The government says at least 93% of Abu Dhabi’s population has received at least one dose of the vaccine.

The neighboring travel hub of Dubai, home to long-haul carrier Emirates, also has introduced some vaccination restrictions on mass entertainment and sporting events. However, malls and other businesses remain open to the unvaccinated.

The UAE boasts one of the world’s fastest inoculation campaigns, with 15.1 million doses administered to its population of some 9 million. The country has relied heavily on the Chinese state-backed Sinopharm shot.

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FILE – In this Feb. 8, 2021 file photo, a man receives his Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine from a medical staffer at Guru Nanak Darbar temple in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, has apparently started offering free coronavirus vaccines to tourists flying into the emirate, a move that could entice travelers and help revive the country’s struggling tourism industry. While no official announcement was made on the matter, the health authority’s phone application showed updated criteria for vaccine access on Tuesday, June 22, 2021, saying visitors to the capital could now get the COVID-19 shot by presenting their passports. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, File)

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