Health Ministry officials are reportedly considering declaring Dubai and Abu Dhabi “red” zones due to their increasing number of COVID-19 infections, as Israeli tourists begin visiting the cities following the United Arab Emirates’ normalization agreement with Israel. Senior officials are alarmed by a spike in infections in the UAE in recent weeks, and if new infections in the kingdom continue to exceed 1,000 per day, it may be declared a “red” country, Channel 12 reported on Tuesday. Health Ministry officials are expected to discuss the outbreak in the UAE, and in other countries, at an upcoming meeting, but have acknowledged that putting restrictions on the UAE will be complicated by its new ties to Israel, the report said.

 

Police have apologised after a pastor was accused of breaking coronavirus regulations while holding a religious service online. Reverend Daniel Mateola said he was "treated like a criminal" when officers arrived at Kingdom Faith Ministries International Church in Milton Keynes earlier this month. Thames Valley Police said there had been a "misunderstanding" by officers in "what is an ever-changing and complex area of enforcement". Two officers attended after reports of loud music, the organisation Christian Concern said, and demanded support staff for the service leave the building as they were breaking regulations. But when the pastor insisted they were acting within the rules and tried to direct them to the guidance, seven more officers were called to the scene, the organisation said. There were around 15 people in the building, each with a specific role for the online broadcast on the evening of November 20 and in separate rooms socially distancing, Christian Concern said.

 

Campaigners who say that men cannot be women could be prosecuted under the SNP’s controversial hate crime Bill, Scotland’s Justice Secretary has confirmed. Humza Yousaf said that it would not be a crime to express such an opinion, but campaigning which was deemed by a court to be ‘deliberately provocative’ would be classed as an offence. The Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill is set to criminalise words or behaviour perceived as ‘abusive’ and intended to ‘stir up hatred’ against particular groups, but lacks sufficient protections for free speech. Susan Smith, Director of women’s rights group For Women Scotland, commented: “When people start throwing around accusations of hate, especially when those people are perceived to have an authority, we think there will be a chilling effect”. She added: “The stirring up part of this bill has the potential to make life very much harder for a number of people by using this law as a weapon.” The Justice Secretary also maintained that he has no intention of including a defence in the Bill to protect conversations in the home from police intervention. He said: “Of course, if there is a stirring up of hatred that meets the threshold” and “that is done round the dinner table with ten of your mates and that can be proven beyond reasonable doubt that would be prosecuted, potentially, under the offence.”