You may think life is back to normal in Dubai. Recently, the bustling city has been a sparkling attraction for tourists, especially from Europe, trying to escape the brutal winter and strict coronavirus lockdowns.
But as tens of thousands of visitors flocked there during its peak year-end season, the virus inevitably caught up with the city despite precautions aimed at limiting its spread. Cases began to rise, nearly quadrupling since November.
Even as Covid-19 gained a stronger foothold, the images out of Dubai — particularly from the Instagram feeds of influencers and celebrities — painted an image of a wide-open winter sun paradise.
For those in countries where most are being told they cannot travel abroad due to the health risk, these pictures caused consternation, drawing criticism of those enjoying themselves.
But the emirate is determined to keep its tourism-reliant economy in business, and officials are unfazed about the recent bad press.