Norton Rose Fulbright has confirmed that it was forced to close its Dubai office for two weeks in late June due to a localized resurgence of the COVID-19 outbreak.
A Norton Rose spokesman said in a statement to Law.com: “We did unfortunately have one of our staff members in Dubai fall ill with COVID-19 but the individual did not contract the disease in our offices.”
A majority of law firms with offices in the UAE reopened early in June, although staff are not obliged to be present. The emirate of Dubai said it would reopen to tourism on July 7.
The Norton Rose spokesperson added that the staff member came into the office in accordance with UAE Government guidelines before showing coronavirus symptoms, and elected to attend a meeting where social distancing and other protocols were being practised with no sharing of food.
“Once the individual fell ill, we observed a 14-day quarantine period for the office which has now passed, with our Dubai premises reopening on June 30 and with no further cases,” the person said.
The UAE has seen 317 deaths due to the coronavirus, while Johns Hopkins University data tallied the region’s infections at 49,469 on July 3, ranking it 32nd worldwide. Among other nations in the Middle East, only Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt, and Iraq rank higher than the UAE for infections.
In March, Dentons shut its Watford office as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19, while Taylor Wessing followed suit in London after confirming a positive virus case in London. A month later, Addleshaw Goddard, Simmons & Simmons, Bird & Bird and Womble Bond Dickinson, announced a series of steps to protect employees against the coronavirus.