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UAE unblocks WhatsApp and Skype calling services for visitors at Expo 2020 Dubai

The UAE authorities have unblocked internet calls for visitors at Expo 2020 site.

The authorities would let people make calls over WhatsApp and other internet apps in the grounds of the Expo 2020 Dubai world fair.

The news was first reported by international news agency, Reuters.

Most of the applications use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services, a system that allows free internet-to-internet voice and video calls.

It has been blocked in the UAE.

On Wednesday, several people were found to have been able to make and take voice calls using WhatsApp and Skype from the Expo site.

The site will open to businesses and exhibitors from almost 200 countries on Friday.

Dubai is set to welcome 25 million business and tourist visits to the world fair, that will boost its economy.

The government allows residents to use licensed services such as BOTIM.

UAE: Apply for 5-year multiple-entry tourist visa; here’s how much it will cost

Immigration authorities in the UAE have opened application processes for the five-year multiple-entry tourist visas to enter the country. The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) has said the visa will now be issued for all nationalities.

The five-year visa enables tourists to enter multiple times on self-sponsorship and remain in the country for 90 days on each visit, which can be extended for another 90 days. Applicants have to pay Dh650 to apply for the visa via ICA.

Heads of tourist agencies in the UAE have confirmed the availability of the multi-entry tourist visa to Khaleej Times.

How to apply

A travel agent told Khaleej Times, “Interested applicants can apply directly on the ICA website. A quota system has not been awarded to travel agencies. Documents, including bank statements of the applicant, can be uploaded directly on the websites — and it is the discretion of the immigration authority to award the visa to the applicant or not.”

Interested visitors who wish to apply for the visa from immigration departments in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah, Al Ain and the Al Dhafra (Western region) can apply for the visa on the ICA website

Dubai-issued multiple-entry visit visas will be authorised by GDRFA.

Moreover, agents have said the demand for tourist visas to enter the UAE has quadrupled over the past several weeks, especially from those interested to attend Expo 2020.

“Our agency is submitting an average of 2,000 tourist visa applications every day,” said Raheesh Babu, group chief operating officer of internet-based travel agency

The UAE cabinet adopted a new remote work visa to enable employees from all over the world to live and work in the UAE for one year and approved a multiple-entry tourist visa for all nationalities in March this year.

Step-by-step process to apply for the five-year visa via ICA

>>Step 1

Upload application information, including name, service beneficiary details, address inside the UAE, address outside the UAE.

>>Step 2

Upload attachments including coloured photo, passport copy, medical insurance, and bank statement for last six months. Applicants must have a balance of US $4,000 or its equivalent in foreign currencies in the last six months.

>>Step 3

Review the application

>>Step 4

Pay for the application

>>Step 5

Receive visa by e-mail

ICA has said that the service is available to all individuals of all nationalities. Individual will receive a multiple-entry visa for five years, provided that the stay period in the country shall not exceed 90 days in one year.

The calculation of the (first, second till the fifth) year starts from the date of the first entry into the country using this visa. “If you wish to extend the annual period of stay in the country for more than 90 days in one year and for a period not exceeding 180 days, you can submit a request to extend the period of stay within the country,” said ICA.

World’s Fair in Dubai opens next week

Not far from the Emirate desert, three colossal gates rise into the sky on the outskirts of Dubai. From a distance they look like wafer-thin latticework; up close, visitors might feel more reminiscent of portals to the next dimension. The 20 meter high entrances to Expo 2020 made of dark carbon fiber mesh give an idea of ​​how the first world exhibition in the Arab world will present itself: large, unique and as a direct route to the achievements of tomorrow.

For six months, thousands are expected to pour into the area every day, which is the size of 280 football fields. The organizers expect 25 million visitors by the end of March, far fewer than the record for the Expo 2010 in Shanghai with 73 million. Expo 2020 has kept its name despite the corona-related postponement by one year. In the extra months of waiting, the discussion about which of the 190 or so exhibiting countries will show the most impressive pavilion this time got underway. The focus is on the topics of sustainability and new forms of mobility.

The hosts’ own pavilion, a spectacular building by the Spanish star architect Santiago Calatrava, is very popular. Like a “falcon in flight”, white wings lay over the roof, writes the Expo office of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The hydraulically retractable fins can be used to regulate solar radiation and shadows on the building. The electricity for hydraulics and light is provided by photovoltaic systems.

Austria also provides a topic of conversation with a pavilion, which, according to the architectural office Querkraft, calls for “careful and respectful use of our earthly resources”. A network of 38 intersecting cones, inspired by Arabic clay architecture, almost completely dispenses with the usual air conditioning technology. Singapore, on the other hand, invites you to a tropical rainforest, while the Netherlands has created a mini-biotope with a vertical mushroom farm in which the climate is controlled in a natural way.

The last major Expo 2015 in Milan and the smaller Special Expo 2017 in Kazakhstan already dealt with the climate, energy and the sustainable use of the earth’s resources. In the Emirates, where, together with the Gulf neighbors Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait, as much energy is consumed per capita as in few other countries, the climate is now an omnipresent catchphrase. The Emirate of Dubai wants to build the largest solar park in the world by 2030, which will then cover an estimated quarter of Dubai’s total energy needs.

In the German pavilion, these topics extend to questions about furniture, carpets and seat cushions in the restaurant. The goal: to create the largest possible space with as few components and building dimensions as possible. So-called “gray energy” for production, transport, storage and disposal should be minimized, according to a paper in the pavilion. The German participants expect around three million visitors over the six months of the Expo.

When it comes to mobility, the Spaniards, among others, are making a name for themselves, presenting their Z01 Hyperloop vehicle with a planned speed of up to 1000 kilometers per hour. The Emirates are showing the world’s largest passenger elevator, which can transport up to 160 people at the same time. Those who need a break from all the tech can attend one of dozen live events or sample food from more than 50 countries. 150 robots on the site show the way there, and on request they can also take photos of visitors or bring drinks. An expo day ticket is available from the equivalent of 23 euros.

The Expo was in planning for ten years, and the operators reported 225 million hours worked on the site by March alone. Similar to a soccer World Cup or the Olympic Games, it promises the hosts an economic boost – and a lot of prestige. An important point for the Emirates, which are repeatedly criticized for the human rights situation. According to Amnesty International, critical voices continue to be suppressed there. A British court has also held Prime Minister Mohammed bin Raschid al-Maktum responsible for the kidnapping of his two daughters.

The expo organizers should breathe a sigh of relief when the lights finally come on at Al-Wasl-Plaza after a year of delay. At the opening ceremony on Thursday, among others, Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli and China’s pianist Lang Lang are expected, but also artists from the region such as the singer Ahlam and the Saudi singer Mohammed Abdu. And Dubai wouldn’t be Dubai if it weren’t for a superlative here too: The dome of the main square then offers the largest area for 360-degree projections in the world.

India emerges as Dubai’s second biggest trade partner

DUBAI: India has emerged as Dubai’s second biggest trading partner after China with the overall volume touching 38.5 billion dirham in the first half of 2021, according to official data released on Sunday.

According to a Dubai government statement, the emirate had a trade volume of 86.7 billion dirham with China in H1 (first half) of 2021, followed by India and the US at third position.

Trade with India grew 74.5% year-on-year to 67.1 billion dirham from 38.5 billion dirham in H1 2020.

China recorded 30.7% growth year-on-year with total trade with Dubai standing at 66.3 billion dirham in H1 2020.

In H1 2021, the USA traded 32 billion dirham with Dubai, up 1% year-on-year from 31.7 billion dirham.

came fourth with 30.5 billion dirham up 26% from H1 202pti0, followed by Switzerland at 24.8 billion dirham.

The total share of the five biggest trade partners in H1 2021 amounted to 241.21 billion dirham compared to 185.06 billion dirham in H1 2020, up 30.34 per cent.

Gold topped the list of commodities in Dubai’s H1 external trade at 138.8 billion dirham (19.2%of Dubai trade), followed by telecoms at 94 billion dirham (13 per cent).

Diamonds came third in the list at 57.3 billion dirham (8 per cent), followed by jewellery at 34.1 billion dirham (4.7 per cent), and vehicle trade at 28 billion dirham (4 per cent).

Dubai’s non-oil external trade surged 31%in the first half of 2021 to reach 722.3 billion dirham from 550.6 billion dirham in the corresponding period in 2020.

Exports grew 45%year on year in H1 2021 to 109.8 billion dirham from 75.8 billion dirham, which supports the goal of the 10 x 10 program (one of the nation’s ‘Projects of the 50’ initiatives) to increase the UAE’s exports to 10 global markets by 10%annually. Imports rose by 29.3%year-on-year to 414 billion dirham from 320 billion dirham. Re-exports grew 28.3%year-on-year to 198.6 billion dirham from 154.79 billion dirham.

Imports rose by 29.3%year-on-year to 414 billion dirham from 320 billion dirham. Re-exports grew 28.3%year-on-year to 198.6 billion dirham from 154.79 billion dirham.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council, said Dubai has reinforced its status as one of the world’s fastest growing business hubs.

“Dubai’s existing sea and air network will be expanded to cover 200 new cities around the world. We are confident that we will continue to build on our growth momentum to achieve our ambitious sustainable development projects and plans,” he said.

Sheikh Hamdan goes on cycling tour of Expo 2020 Dubai

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, on Monday took a bike tour of Expo 2020 Dubai days ahead of the global event.
Sheikh Hamdan thanked the Expo team and national service personnel for their excellent efforts. The Crown Prince went on a bike ride across the sprawling site, which will welcome millions of visitors in the months ahead.
The historical opening ceremony of the eagerly-anticipated world fair will take place on September 30, and the event will open to the public on October 1.
Inspired by Expo 2020 Dubai’s theme, ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, Sheikh Hamdan said: “From here … Expo, we pay tribute, respect and gratitude to the Expo team for their efforts. I would also like to thank national service personnel for their ideal efforts.” The theme is based on the belief that bringing the world together can catalyse an exchange of new perspectives and inspire action.
On Monday, Sheikh Hamdan also shared images of his Expo bike tour on his official Instagram account. He added: “A meeting of the minds, communication through culture…
The Crown Prince was also seen touring the site alongside Reem Al Hashimi, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General of Expo 2020 Dubai.
He rode past one of the Entry Portals at Expo 2020. The portals are a futuristic adaptation of the traditional mashrabiya, an intricate design used across the region to regulate light and airflow. Read more about these portals
Sheikh Hamdan at the Expo 2020 site.
Sheikh Hamdan at the Expo 2020 site.
Here, Sheikh Hamdan stands at the heart of Expo 2020; the world’s largest 360-degree projection zone.

This is what the first expo in Arab soil offers

One year late, the Expo will open in Dubai on October 1st. One of the most interesting pavilions is likely to be that of Germany, which comes along in the university style.

Visions of the future, sun, warmth and beach: The world exhibition  Expo  opens its gates on October 1st in Dubai and offers pretty much everything that people long for after a year and a half of the pandemic and a summer that wasn’t one.

Due to Corona, the first Expo on Arab soil will take place one year late. Nevertheless, the organizers are hoping for a good 25 million tourists by the end of March 31, 2022. One of the largest, but also most interesting pavilions will probably be that of Germany: As in a university, the visitors go through a short course on sustainability.

Expo shines with technical and optical top performances

It is eagerly awaited which nation will make the most spectacular contribution to the world exhibition. Former Expo organizers have mostly presented top technical and optical achievements. In 1889, for example, Paris was given a new landmark with the Eiffel Tower, Brussels received the Atomium in 1958, Seville impressed in 1992 with the hair-shaped Alamillo Bridge and in Hanover, the world’s largest wooden roof was built for Expo 2000.

A year ago, there was still speculation in Dubai that Tesla inventor Elon Musk would make the race with his Hyperloop. The supposed means of transport of the future is supposed to bring passenger capsules through a tube to their destination at 1,200 kilometers per hour. In terms of air conditioning, the Hyperloop would be a quantum leap. A drive from Hamburg to Rome, for example, would only take an hour and a half.

With an appropriate route network, a significant part of all continental air travel could become superfluous. However, the originally planned test route from Dubai to Abu Dhabi was not mentioned recently, only a model of the Hyperloop will probably be exhibited

“Sustainability, Mobility, Opportunities”

Nevertheless, from October 1st, Dubai wants to look into the future with its futuristic-looking, 4.38 square kilometer expo area. “Connecting the thoughts, shaping the future” is the motto of the exhibition, the sub-themes “Sustainability, Mobility, Opportunities” subdivide the exhibition.

Germany has set up its airy pavilion in the sustainability sector of the exhibition grounds. Visitors can enroll in the so-called campus like in a university and watch video lectures on the topics of energy, the city of the future and biodiversity. A final event in the Graduation Hall concludes the “course”. The participants sat on swings and tried to find a common rhythm. The message: If everyone helps together, a lot can be achieved even with small impulses.

Germany expects around 10,000 visitors a day

Germany has built one of the largest exhibition buildings at the Expo. “We are assuming a good 10,000 visitors per day,” says Annika Beisel, the press spokeswoman for the German pavilion: “Most of them will spend a good 45 minutes with us.”

Not every nation, like Germany, is able to invest around 50 million euros, which is why it shows itself with significantly smaller projects. It is therefore all the more remarkable that Baden-Württemberg is the only region besides 192 countries to be represented with its own pavilion. The costs, however, caused discussions in advance and ended up in a committee of inquiry.

Originally, companies in a project company were supposed to provide the financing. In the end, the country had to shoulder the cost increase from three to more than 15 million euros itself. According to the committee’s final report, the Ministry of Economic Affairs was responsible for the financial debacle.

Concerts and presentations are planned every day

The opening ceremony is likely to focus on other topics. After ten years of preparation, the magnificent show with surprise guests from all over the world will take place in the spectacular Al Wasl Plaza. The dome-shaped, architectural work of art with the world’s largest 360-degree projection surface is a breathtaking center of the expo. Concerts and presentations will take place here every day. “Everyone is invited to share their success stories and goals for a brighter and more collaborative future,” says Mohamed Al Ansaari, Vice President of Expo Communications.

Basically, Expo 2021 could start with a large portion of optimism. A year after the postponement, organizers hope the pandemic will not slow them down again. Because the entry requirements are strict due to the increasing number of infections. At the moment, travelers must present a negative PCR test before departure, which is repeated in the country.

The organizers are nevertheless optimistic. Camille Renaudin from the PR team of the world exhibition still hopes that the Expo in Dubai will be the world’s “first major post-Covid event”.

bitcoin trading market data chart. virtual cryptocurrency concept

UAE regulator approves crypto trading in free zone

The Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) and the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority (DWTCA) have agreed to support the regulation, offering, issuance, listing and trading of crypto assets and related financial activities within DWTCA’s free zone.

In a statement issued by the SCA on 22 September, it said the agreement establishes a framework that allows DWTCA to issue the necessary approvals and licenses for the conduct of financial activities relating to crypto assets.

The agreement was signed by Maryam Al Suwaidi, acting chief executive officer of SCA, and Helal Saeed Almarri, director general of Dubai World Trade Centre Authority (DWTCA) and Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).

Our agreement with the Securities and Commodities Authority will allow DWTCA to broaden its regulatory, licenses and services capabilities, in addition to extending the centralised supervision of the crypto market to our free zone.”

The Dubai World Trade Centre Authority provides a well-regulated ecosystem for businesses seeking local and international opportunities, while the DWTCA Free Zone provides an ideal environment for startups, SMEs and corporations to operate locally while reaching international markets, the statement said.

In collaboration with DWTCA, SCA will handle the regulatory oversight of the issuance, offering, listing, and trading of crypto assets as well as the licensing of the associated financial activities that fall under DWTCA’s jurisdiction.

Under the agreement, SCA will oversee, monitor, and inspect entities operating within DWTCA’s free zone.

Al Suwaidi said: “The SCA will be responsible for the regulatory supervision of offering, issuing, trading and listing crypto assets and the licensing of financial activities related to them within the limits of the DWTCA free zone. The SCA will also supervise, control and investigate the licensed entities that operate within the free zone.”

Helal Saeed Almarri said: “The Dubai World Trade Centre Authority is committed to expanding its services as a free zone of choice for the international investment and entrepreneurial community. As Dubai continues its drive towards an innovation and digital-led economy, DWTCA is looking to support businesses underpinned by blockchain and cryptographic technologies.

“Our agreement with the Securities and Commodities Authority will allow DWTCA to broaden its regulatory, licenses and services capabilities, in addition to extending the centralised supervision of the crypto market to our free zone.

“With the rise of new technologies such as non-fungible tokens set to play an important role in the future of commerce, and building on the Future Blockchain Summit, our globally recognised event in this sector, DWTCA is also pursuing ways to offer a sustainable home for this ecosystem, in order to stay future ready,”

He added: “The UAE has been at the forefront of blockchain research and implementation and our ambition is in line with the Emirates Blockchain Strategy.”

The SCA and DWTCA said they will exchange best practices relating to the project, as well as delivering mutual technical support to enhance their understanding of both organisations’ financial systems.

Covid in UAE: Masks not mandatory in some public places

Authorities in the UAE have removed the mandatory requirement of wearing masks in some public places. People must maintain a social distance of two metres, the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) announced on Wednesday, September 22.

Residents don’t need to wear masks when exercising in public places. Masks are also not mandatory when members of the same household are travelling in their private vehicles. Swimming pool- and beach-goers are not required to wear it either.

Other places where the mask rule does not apply include closed places when individuals are alone; salons and beauty centres and medical centres.

Signs will come up at places where masks are not required.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention stressed that masks remain mandatory in all other public places. “Masks remain one of the most effective tools in fighting the virus,” the NCEMA said.

The decision came after the number of daily Covid-19 cases decreased by 60 per cent in August this year as compared to the same period last year. On Tuesday, the country recorded just 322 new cases.

The UAE is also the most vaccinated country in the world, with over 92 per cent residents having received at least one dose, and over 81 per cent fully vaccinated.

91.37%: UAE tops world in COVID-19 vaccinations

91.37% UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: It’s the biggest vaccination campaign in history, and it’s currently underway. The UAE has topped the world in terms of vaccinations, according to Our World In Data. As of September 21, 2021, the Emirates had posted 91% share of people partly vaccinated against COVID-19, with 80.78% fully vaccinated. The UAE also leads in COVID-19 vaccines doses administered per 100 peopple, at 195.67, as of September 21, 2021. On Wednesday (September 22, 2021), the UAE announced the easing of mask mandates in certain places.

87.56% PORTUGAL: Portugal has eased restrictions since August 21, 2021 as COVID-19 vaccination rate has gone up. As of September 21, the country has recreded 88% of it people received at least 1 dose, with 84.19% now fully vaccinated.
81% QATAR: The country has recorded 75.7% fully vaccinated, with 4.85% now fully vaccinated, according to Our World in Data, a scientific online publication that publishes country-by-country data and research on the pandemic.
80.16% SPAIN: The country has recorded 77.2% fully vaccinated, with 2.96% now fully vaccinated. Globally, more than 6 billion doses have been administered—enough to fully vaccinate 39.1% of the global population.
79.12% SINGAPORE: The island nation has reported that 77.24% of its population had been fully vaccinated, and 1.88% partly vaccinated, for a total of 79.12% as of September 20, 2021.
78.10% URUGUAY: The country has recorded 73.48% fully vaccinated, with 4.62% now fully vaccinated. It’s the biggest vaccination campaign in history, and it’s currently underway.
76.58% CHILE: The country has recorded 72.99% fully vaccinated, with 3.59% now fully vaccinated. The latest daily rate for global vaccinations is roughly 33.5 million doses a day.
76.46% DENMARK: The country has recorded 74.65% fully vaccinated, with 1.81% now fully vaccinated.
76.22% CHINA: The country has recorded 70.78% fully vaccinated, with 5.44% now fully vaccinated.
75.6% CANADA: The country has recorded 69.62% fully vaccinated, with 6.05% now fully vaccinated.
75% IRELAND: The country has recorded 75.7% fully vaccinated, with 4.85% now fully vaccinated.
73.99 FINLAND: The country has recorded 58.98% fully vaccinated, with 15.01% now fully vaccinated.

74.57% NORWAY: The country has recorded 65.13% fully vaccinated, with 9.44% now fully vaccinated.

73.63% ITALY: The country has recorded 66.15% fully vaccinated, with 7.48% now fully vaccinated.
73.57% FRANCE: The country has recorded 63.71% fully vaccinated, with 9.86% now fully vaccinated.
71.28% UK: The country has recorded 65.26% fully vaccinated, with 6.02% now fully vaccinated.
68.57% BRAZIL: The country has recorded 37.97% fully vaccinated, with 30.60% now fully vaccinated. Infectious-disease experts say that vaccinating 70% to 85% would enable a return to normalcy. On a global scale, that’s a daunting level of vaccination.
67.54% JAPAN: The country has recorded 55.40% fully vaccinated, with 12.14% now fully vaccinated. At the current pace of 33.5 million shots administered per day across the world, the goal of high levels of global immunity remains a long way off.
67.43% MALAYSIA: The country has recorded 56.90% fully vaccinated, with 10.53% now fully vaccinated. Globally, vaccine manufacturing capacity, is steadily increasing, and new vaccines by additional manufacturers are coming to market.
66.76% GERMANY: The country has recorded 62.84% fully vaccinated, with 3.92% now fully vaccinated. Globally, the latest vaccination rate is 33,521,925 doses per day, on average. At this pace, it will take another 5 months to cover 75% of the population.
66.44% BAHRAIN: The country has recorded 63.29% fully vaccinated, with 3.15% now fully vaccinated.
66.36% EUROPEAN UNION: The country has recorded 61.53% fully vaccinated, with 4.83% now fully vaccinated.
65.53% SAUDI ARABIA: The country has recorded 50.97% fully vaccinated, with 14.56% now fully vaccinated.
63.11% UNITED STATES: The country has recorded 54.12% fully vaccinated, with 8.99% now fully vaccinated. In the U.S., 387 million doses have been given so far. In the last week, an average of 764,423 doses per day were administered.

UAE travel: No COVID-19 test required to enter Abu Dhabi from September 19

Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee announced on Saturday that the COVID-19 test requirement for entering Abu Dhabi would be removed starting September 19, Sunday. This applies to travel within the UAE.

Saturday’s announcement clarifies that residents, tourists or citizens travelling to Abu Dhabi from other emirates will not be required to present a COVID-19 test result starting from today, September 19.

The Abu Dhabi Media Office said that the decision follows the decreased COVID-19 infection rate in the emirate, at just 0.2 per cent of total tests conducted. The change in entry rules also follows the activation of the green pass system to enter some public places.

The committee added that they would continue to monitor events and urged all citizens, residents, and visitors to continue adhering to precautionary measures to protect public health and safety, maintain successes, and advance the nation’s sustainable recovery.

What’s the change?

As of the most recent update in August, non-vaccinated travellers had to present a negative PCR test result issued within 48 hours before entry, or a negative DPI result issued within 24 hours before entry in to Abu Dhabi. Non-vaccinated travellers also had to take additional tests on the fourth and eight day of their stay in Abu Dhabi.

However, vaccinated travellers were allowed to enter the emirate with a ‘green pass’ and an active E or star icon on Alhosn app. While a PCR test is required to get the E/star icon, no further tests were required for vaccinated travellers.

This is the rule that changed with Saturday’s announcement. Starting Sunday, all visitors can enter Abu Dhabi without testing.

Entering some public places still restricted

Abu Dhabi still has the Green Pass system in place for some public places. In order to maintain a Green Pass on one’s AlHosn app, fully vaccinated individuals must get a negative PCR test every 30 days. People who are not vaccinated, or who have a medical exemption for vaccination, must get a negative PCR test result uploaded every week. The Green Pass requirement does not, however, apply to children aged less than 16 years.

So, if you’re heading to Abu Dhabi, it would be safer to check ahead of your travel if the places you plan to visit require the Green Pass for entry. As of August, entry to shopping malls, certain events, cinemas, gyms, spas, museums, and other places in the emirate require the Green Pass.