DUBAI (Reuters) - Dubai will roll out China's Sinopharm vaccine to the general public from Sunday as coronavirus infections surged to record levels in the Middle East tourism hub, the government said on Saturday.
All Emirati nationals are eligible for the vaccine, the Dubai media office said in a statement.
Last week, Dubai suspended non-essential surgeries in hospitals for a month and live music at restaurants indefinitely after daily infections of the coronavirus in the United Arab Emirates rose to their highest levels in January.
On Saturday, authorities reported 3,647 new cases and 12 deaths bringing the total number of cases and deaths from COVID-19 to 300,661 and 674 respectively.
In contrast with the UAE’s capital Abu Dhabi, which has rolled out Sinopharm vaccine to the general public since December, Dubai began the first phase of its vaccination campaign with vaccines produced by Pfizer and BioNTech.
Dubai has largely removed coronavirus restrictions with the exception of face masks in public and social distancing. The city has seen an influx of tourists during its peak winter season as its heavily-indebted economy relies largely on tourism and entertainment.
The Gulf state of about 9 million people hopes massive vaccination will curb infections while keeping its economy open for business.
On Saturday, the government said 107,561 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were given in the past 24 hours, taking the total of doses distributed so far to 3,114,162, with a rate of of 31.49 doses per 100 people.
(Reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Toby Chopra and Angus MacSwan)