Many upcoming major entertainment events in the nation's capital and Dubai are under consideration following the new coronavirus outbreak in the UAE.
Though Ultra Music Festival (UMF) Abu Dhabi and the Middle East Film and Comic Con are expected to go on as scheduled. However, the DJ Mag Conference, a run-up event to UMF, is officially cancelled and the Abu Dhabi Creative Reader Festival has been put on hold as well. Khaleej Times has also reached out to the Coca-Cola arena and the Global Village on comments for cancellation of events, however, officials are yet to comment.
DJ Mag Conference was forced to cancel the event as its venue - the W Hotel - has been placed on temporary lockdown after two technical staff members were tested positive for COVID-19 during the UAE Tour. Staff and riders were residing at the W Hotel.
In a statement, DJ Mag Conference said, "Following the decision by the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi to place the W Hotel on Yas Island on temporary lockdown, we regret to inform you that the DJMag conference due to take place on March 3,4 will be cancelled." However, tickets will be refunded.
UMF Abu Dhabi to go ahead as scheduled
The first Ultra Music Festival (UMF) Abu Dhabi, electronic dance music (EDM) festival that's expected to attract several thousand visitors, will go ahead with extra medical precautions in place amid the COVID-19 outbreak, organisers have said.
"There are no plans to cancel, postpone or move the 2020 production," said organisers.
Scheduled to take place on March 5-6, Ultra organisers posted an update on the health and wellness segment of their website confirming to fans that the event will go ahead as planned. The event will see performances from DJ Snake, Kshmr, Grammy award-winning ZEDD, Major Lazer, Eric Prydz, and Afrojack, to name a few.
The first festival to be organised in the region, UMF is an annual dance music festival founded in Miami, USA, where approximately 170,000 people attend annually. Alongside the flagship event in Miami, more extensive international franchises take place across the globe.
The notice said, "Event organisers have been coordinating with the relevant authorities regarding public health issues and will continue to coordinate with and follow the recommendations and protocols relating to risk reduction and preventative measures by, Abu Dhabi Department of Health and other regulatory agencies." Handwashing and sanitising stations will be placed throughout the event site.
Business as usual for Comic-Con
Host to celebrities the likes of Mena Massoud from the Aladdin fame and John Rhys- Davies from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, there is much to look forward to at MEFCC this year. Fortunately for fans, the event will also take place as scheduled - from March 5-7 at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC). Several thousand people attend MEFCC every year.
Hand sanitising stations will be at the disposal of visitors and exhibitors around DWTC and inside MEFCC. A statement from the organisers said, "DWTC has put in place thermal cameras as an additional measure for visitors' convenience. All areas will be cleaned regularly, and as ever, we have medical assistance onsite and available for advice and support."
Wings of Relief, a non-profit organisation's free breast cancer, and medical screening event, scheduled to take place on March 2 at the American University of Ras Al Khaimah has also been postponed. A statement from the team said, "We are forced to postpone the health awareness campaign. We hope the situation will improve and we shall inform the new dates once we have a necessary approval from the authorities."
Avoid sharing cutlery, maintain utmost hand hygiene protocol at events
Dr Mirhan Mohamed Alkady, a senior specialist of Clinical Pathology at the Burjeel Specialty Hospital in Sharjah, said participants at big or small events must follow full hand hygiene protocols and avoid sharing cutlery.
"Crowded areas are a breeding ground for viruses; not just COVID-19, but events of all kinds," she said. "The route of transmission is through droplets, so anyone is vulnerable. Just like how other members of a family are vulnerable if one is infected," added Dr Mirham.
Tips to protect oneself at an event:
- Maintain mouth and nose barriers by wearing masks
- Maintain optimal hand hygiene
- Use a hand sanitizer with 90 per cent alcohol
- Clean surfaces of mobile phones and other gadgets
- Avoid touching surfaces
- Wash hands repeatedly
- Avoid touching your face
- To sneeze, use wipes or cough on to a sleeve
- Don't share food and beverages at venues
- Use disposable plates and cutlery
- Don't share cutlery
- Organisers must ask staff members to stay alert and appoint health inspectors onsite
- Avoid handshakes and hugs if possible
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