UK government adviser stays in UAE despite travel ban
Ben Goldsmith, a board member of the UK's Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the brother of environment minister Lord Zac Golsmith, said he decided to remain in the UAE because of "family business opportunities", UK media reported on Thursday.
The move goes against the UK's newly outlined travel restrictions with the Gulf state, which has closed its border after a new strain of the coronavirus originating from South Africa was located there.
Additional restrictions have also been placed on travelling for business, which is no longer considered an "essential" matter.
"We are in Abu Dhabi, which has strict quarantine requirements on arrival and almost no cases of Covid," Goldsmith said, according to the Daily Mail.
"We followed all the rules in the UK and here, as you’d expect. We have been away since mid-December, before any new lockdowns or travel rules were put in place back in the UK – and, naturally, we followed all rules and guidance pre-departure," he added.
This comes as Home Secretary Priti Patel scolded social media influencers "showing off in sunny parts of the world", including UAE's Dubai - now dubbed Covid-19 "superspreader capital of the world".
The emirate is home to thousands of British expats and has been a popular destination for social media influencers during the pandemic, who have raised ire by posting their holiday pictures having travelled under the guise of work.
Dubai last week clamped down on its entertainment scene and suspended non-essential surgery in hospitals after a spike in coronavirus cases.
One of the seven emirates that make up the UAE, Dubai has branded itself this winter as an open, sunny and quarantine-free escape.
But Covid-19 infections have surged since the New Year.