Dubai malls, businesses to ‘fully operate’ from Wednesday

People shop at The Dubai Mall, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates March 12, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 02 June 2020

Dubai malls, businesses to ‘fully operate’ from Wednesday

  • Dubai had already shortened a nighttime curfew to just seven hours starting from 11 p.m.

DUBAI: Shopping malls in Dubai will fully reopen for business on Wednesday, in the latest easing of coronavirus restrictions, the emirate’s media office announced.
The step makes the glitzy city-state the first in the Middle East to drop nearly all restrictions to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus that hit retailers and leisure activities.
Dubai, one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates, had already shortened a nighttime curfew to just seven hours starting from 11 p.m. (1900GMT).
Businesses in the private sector had been allowed since last week to work at 50 percent capacity, but the authorities now say they can “fully operate.”
“Shopping malls and private sector businesses in the emirate will fully operate at 100 percent from tomorrow, Wednesday,” the Dubai Media Office tweeted on Tuesday.
Dubai’s shopping centers include the Mall of the Emirates, which has its own indoor ski slope, and Dubai Mall, adjacent to Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest structure.
“The move aims to ensure the private sector is able to resume normal activity without compromising on preventive steps to protect people’s health and safety,” a media office statement said.
Preventative measures include wearing face masks, maintaining a minimum distance of two meters (around 6 feet) between individuals, and the regular use of hand sanitiser, the statement added.
Dubai has the most diversified economy in the Gulf, relying on trade, retail, tourism and real estate.
Its neighbor Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s capital, cordoned off the city and banned travel between regions in the emirate for a week starting Tuesday.
The UAE has so far recorded more than 35,000 cases of the COVID-19 respiratory disease, including 269 deaths.

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Greek PM calls for ‘sense’ from Turkey in East Med row

Updated 41 min 55 sec ago

Greek PM calls for ‘sense’ from Turkey in East Med row

  • Greek PM warns his country 'will not suffer blackmail'
  • Tensions between the two Mediterranean countries have been rising in recent weeks

ATHENS: Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Wednesday urged Turkey to show “sense” in a naval showdown in the Eastern Mediterranean over energy exploration which he warned could lead to a military accident.
Tensions were stoked Monday when Ankara dispatched the research ship Oruc Reis accompanied by Turkish naval vessels off the Greek island of Kastellorizo in the eastern Mediterranean.
Greece also deployed warships to monitor the vessel, which is currently sailing west of Cyprus.
“We are vigilantly looking forward to sense prevailing, at last, in our neighboring country, so that dialogue may be re-initiated in good faith,” Mitsotakis said in a statement released by his office first in Greek, then in English with some variations.
“The risk of an accident lurks when so many military assets are gathered in such a contained area,” he warned.
The Greek PM said Athens would not seek to escalate the situation, but added: “No provocation will though go unanswered.”
Athens has demanded the immediate withdrawal of the Oruc Reis from what it regards as its continental shelf, and has asked for an emergency meeting of EU foreign ministers on the issue.

“Our country never threatens but will not suffer blackmail either,” Mitsotakis said.
“We are not alone in this effort,” he said.
Earlier Wednesday, EU diplomacy chief Josep Borrell said foreign ministers will hold an extraordinary meeting Friday to discuss the eastern Mediterranean, Lebanon and Belarus.
The incident is the latest spat over energy exploration in the gas-rich eastern Mediterranean, a frequent source of disputes between Turkey and neighbors including Greece, Cyprus and Israel.
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias will fly to Israel on Thursday for talks, his office said.
Dendias is also to address the issue with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Vienna on Friday.

A similar crisis last month was averted after Turkey pulled the Oruc Reis back to hold talks with Greece and rotating EU chair Germany.
But the mood soured last week after Greece and Egypt signed an agreement to set up an exclusive economic zone in the region.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said his country would step up energy exploration in the eastern Mediterranean and would not “compromise” on its rights.
Turkey has announced the Oruc Reis would carry out activities between August 10 and 23, in an area it considers its own continental shelf.
Mitsotakis on Monday conferred with his military chiefs and spoke with EU Council President Charles Michel and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sounded a slightly more conciliatory note after a meeting with his own ministers later Monday.
“Let us all come together as Mediterranean countries and find a formula that protects all of our rights,” Erdogan said in a national address.
But Erdogan added: “We cannot allow (nations) to ignore a big country like Turkey and try to imprison us to our shores.”
The Turkish foreign ministry has said the Greece-Egypt agreement was “null and void.”
Egypt, Cyprus and Greece have likewise denounced a contentious deal, including a security agreement, signed last year between Ankara and the UN-recognized government in Libya.
Greece, Cyprus and Israel in January signed an agreement for a huge pipeline project to transport gas from the eastern Mediterranean to Europe despite Turkey’s hostility to the deal.