This content was published on Oct 01, 2021 – Jul 15:01,
October 01, 2021 – 15:01
Thousands of visitors began flocking to the Expo 2020 in Dubai on Friday with the official opening of its doors, despite the sweltering temperatures after the event was postponed for a year due to Covid-19.
The Dubai Expo, which opened on Thursday evening with an official ceremony, was held on the outskirts of Dubai at a cost of about seven billion dollars, and includes hundreds of pavilions of the participating countries and exhibitions on vast areas.
It is the largest event organized since the start of the Covid pandemic, as the Tokyo Olympics were held last summer without spectators in the stadiums to avoid the rapid transmission of the virus.
Visitors to the exhibition will be required to submit a vaccination certificate or a negative COVID-19 test result. They will also have to wear masks and adhere to social distancing rules.
The UAE is one of the countries that carried out an intensive and rapid vaccination campaign for its residents, with twenty million doses, while the population is ten million.
“We are doing everything that is scientifically possible to mitigate the effects of Covid, and also what is necessary to move forward,” Reem Al-Hashemi, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General of the Expo 2020 Dubai Bureau, told AFP.
A metro line connects Dubai with the Expo site on the road to the capital, Abu Dhabi.
The site is equipped with fifth generation technologies for communication, which will also be invested after the end of the exhibition on March 31.
During the fair, ‘Theme Weeks’ will be organized that will focus on various issues such as climate, biodiversity, space, rural and urban development, among others.
Expo focuses on sustainable solutions in the areas of water, energy and food.
– enthusiasm –
Visitors walked through the exhibition pavilions and took souvenir photos despite the high temperatures.
Emirati student Aisha Hussein, 20, expressed her “excitement” for the idea of visiting the pavilions of the participating countries. “It is really a source of pride for Dubai to host a global event like the Expo,” she told AFP on Friday.
“We were looking forward to the day and to the opening. We are looking forward to seeing some performances probably and tasting different food from different countries,” said Sarah Kahn, a 34-year-old British resident of Dubai.
The first World Expo was held in London in 1851 at the purpose-built Crystal Palace. In Paris, the 1889 exhibition unveiled the Eiffel Tower.
The Emirate of Dubai hopes to add the exhibition to its achievements, including skyscrapers, especially the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, with a height of 828 meters.
During the exhibition, the UAE will celebrate its fiftieth anniversary.
Israel is participating in the exhibition, in a new advanced step in relations with the UAE, with which it signed an agreement to normalize their relations a year ago.
– Critics –
Most European countries will participate in the Dubai Expo, despite the European Parliament’s call to boycott it, in protest of “human rights violations in the UAE”, according to a decision issued by it in mid-September.
But the UAE rejected the decision, and said in a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, “We strongly reject the allegations contained in the text, which were previously addressed and rejected as incorrect.”
She added that “the decision completely ignores all the important achievements of the UAE in the field of human rights.”
Human Rights Watch said in a statement on Friday that “Expo 2020 is another opportunity for the UAE to present itself to the world as being open, tolerant and respectful of rights, while closing the field of politics, public discourse and human rights activism at home.”