Life in the UAE During COVID

HAPPY FALL Y’ALL! I hope you are all enjoying the nice crisp cool weather for me. We are still patiently waiting for the weather here to calm down. For the past week or so we have had highs in the low 100’s so I am getting hopeful. Since the weather will hopefully not be a deterrent much longer I thought I would do a post about what is like in the UAE when it comes to COVID.

Like I mentioned in my first blog, when we first arrived in the UAE we had to get COVID tests upon arrival followed by another test on day 6 and then again on day 12. Everything was going just fine until the UAE upped their game.

On the weekend after we arrived, the UAE announced that starting on August 20th you had to be vaccinated to enter supermarkets, malls, and most other places, and this proof of vaccination had to be reflected in the Al Hosn app. The Al Hosn app is the official app that the UAE is using for contact tracing and to show your COVID test results and vaccination status.

This was great news because it showed how serious the UAE is taking COVID and one of the many ways they are encouraging people to get vaccinated. Unfortunately, this also meant that I wasn’t going to be able to go anywhere until my proof of vaccination was reflected in my Al Hosn app. I was perfectly fine with this because I supported what they were doing. So I hunkered down to start living the tower life.

What is the tower life you ask? Well, it is the life that Rapunzel lived in her classic fairytale. Tyler was able to keep me company the first week of tower life, but after that he started school and I was on my own. The song “When Will My Life Begin” from Disney’s Tangled kept playing through my head throughout the day. I would start my day with chores, laundry, unpacking, organizing, reading, and by then it was like 11:15.

Organized Bookshelf
Brian hates that I organized this by color.

Yes, I could technically leave the apartment and go outside for a walk, but it was way too hot for that. On the weekends we would go for a drive to look around but we couldn’t, or I couldn’t, actually go inside anywhere.  

Also like Rapunzel, I had a prince. My prince did everything he could to make sure the proper paperwork was submitted to change my status to green on the Al Hosn app. He also took on the task of running errands and doing his best to purchase items from my wish list. He had to take Tyler to get his school uniform and his COVID test for school.

Speaking of Tyler’s school, the staff and kids over 16 have to be vaccinated, unless they have an exemption. Kids have to be tested once every 30 days and of course have their temperature checked every morning before entering school. This just feels like the new normal and is no big deal.

Luckily, it wasn’t long before they released how to prove your vaccination status while you waited for your Al Hosn app to be updated.  So, I lived the tower life for a little over a week. All in all, I appreciate the UAE for being strict and reminded myself that this slight inconvenience was worth feeling safe. They have the highest vaccination rate in the world right now, click here to visit the New York Times COVID vaccination tracker page, which is populated from government sources by the Our World in Data project at the University of Oxford.

Here people wear their masks, if you are caught not wearing a mask in public you can get a fine of Dh3,000 (about $800). There are all sorts of fines that you can get if you break the rules, click here to read an article on the National News website that lists them. At the bottom of this article there is a short video of what it was like back when you had to quarantine for 14 days with a monitor, that is what Brian had to do when he first came to Abu Dhabi. Anyway, if you are over 16 you have to be vaccinated to enter most public places, like restaurants, malls, grocery stores, museums, theme parks, and schools. Most of these places have a thermal scanner that you have to pass through. Some also have EDE scanners that scan you for being potentially infected with COVID using electromagnetic waves, there seems to be some debate on the accuracy of this but still.

Whatever they are doing it seems to be working because the cases in the UAE have pretty much been going down since we got here. On October 2nd there were no deaths reported and only 256 new cases. That is for the whole UAE, not just Abu Dhabi. They do not break the numbers down by Emirate, but as long as the numbers are going down and low, I can’t complain about that. If you want to see the current numbers or trends click here to visit the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority of the United Arab Emirates.

All I know is that being here during COVID doesn’t feel stressful, polarizing, or distracting from everyday life. It is just how things are and everyone here seems to be on the same page about it, not angry or frustrated about how things are or aren’t. They are just moving forward the best way that they can. I guess that is what we are all trying to do, move forward. I hope you are all staying safe and healthy.


  1. Love the book organization! But that doesn’t seem to be enough books for Brian & you–let alone Tyler’s library! ; )
    It seems it depends on who you are here if you are required to follow the rules. But that is nothing new the elite do as they please.
    Beautiful views!

  2. As usual you write and explain things going on in your life beautifully. I wish people here would accept things and do what is right so we could get out of this mess. We love and miss you. Stay safe. Hugs and kisses to all of you.

  3. Sounds like you are adjusting well and have a great outlook on your new life there! Love reading your blogs and being able to keep in touch with all of you!

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