OPINION: International Media Targets Dubai (Again) But Misses The Full Picture


My mum spent Christmas in the UK and after the holidays she had a difficult decision to make. Would she return to Ireland, as planned, or come to Dubai (where she’s a resident) to secure her chances of taking the vaccine.

She chose Dubai, and I’m proud to say she was treated like a VIP at the vaccine clinic, (thanks to her senior citizen status) and soon she’ll take the second dose. Had she been at home, it would be months before her name would reach the top of the list.

It’s been a difficult time for everyone. COVID-19 stole plans and robbed us of new memories. Everywhere has been affected, but when given the option, home or Dubai, my family chose Dubai. As a resident, her chances of getting the vaccination were far higher here than anywhere else in the world.

For a mountain of reasons, I count my lucky stars I’ve been in Dubai during this pandemic, which is why this weekend when I was skimming through COVID news, it was hard to miss international media publications targeting Dubai.

It’s sad to see Western media take aim at Dubai… again. Far-flung publications taking an easy shot to criticise this city’s handling of the pandemic.

Dubai put precautions in place and people followed the rules

The word on the ground here in Dubai? We feel lucky to be here. Not just for the myriad of precautions the city set in place, post one of the world’s strictest lockdowns, but because we are in a city with easy access to the vaccine. Not only that, Dubai is now part of a concerted effort to help 2 billion people worldwide get the vaccine.

We will be one of the first countries in the world to achieve near-total vaccination and Dubai will claim status as a vaccine-hub using its resources to help efficiently distribute to the vaccine to other countries.

It’s easy to bash a city that handled the pandemic differently, but when Dubai officially opened (after, I repeat: one of the world’s strictest lockdowns), it’s never been, ‘business as usual’. The restaurant industry has been hit hard, with all STILL operating at reduced capacities. Entertainment has been cancelled. Schools are operating independently, finding new models to suit their community. Unlike in other cities, when you look outside you KNOW we’re in a pandemic.

Face masks? Check. Temperature checks, steriliser and new government-approved sterilisation companies? Check. Residents here follow the rules, and a few shoddy articles about tourists here don’t nearly paint the full picture.

There is no right answer

It’s not been an easy ride. Active cases currently average at 25,000 a day and at the peak, we hit almost 4,000 cases a day. There were issues distributing the Pfizer vaccine in Dubai, which authorities are working hard to rectify. Small businesses have taken a hit, and establishments incurred untold costs as they fell in line with strict precautions outlined by the government.

No city is without its problems, there is no right answer. But ask the people how we’re feeling and you’ll get a general idea. Media attacks from the other side of the world are pointless. We all have more to worry about.

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