Comic Con Goes on in Dubai Despite Coronavirus Fears

Date: 2020-03-06 18:04:19

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Many visitors to this event in Dubai are wearing face masks. But these are not regular hygeine face masks…. instead skeletons, monsters and square heads. Welcome to Comic Con Dubai, where sharks dance and everyone is having a good time. The Middle East Film & Comic Con began Wednesday, March 6 in Dubai, a city of skyscrapers and nightclubs suddenly subdued by the outbreak of the virus across the region. #ComicCon #ComicConDubai #Dubai #Coronavirus #CoronavirusOutbreak #Covid19 #MEFCC2020

The three-day event gives anime, movie and comic buffs a chance to dress up and even dance.

But the players are taking precautions. Visitor Mohamed Rashed is wearing two gloves underneath his Luigi costume, the famous sidekick to the video game character Mario.

“I was worried especially since my mother repeatedly told me don’t go, don’t go, don’t go. Please don’t go. And if you will go at the very least take precaution which is why I am wearing two layers of gloves as you can see. But of course, it is something I wouldn’t say I am very panicky about, but I think it is something we should be precautious about so even if you do want to have fun we should take some extra steps.”

Abdulla Al Shamsi and his friends are dressed as sharks.

“Despite the virus and all that we came because we still love this place and we cherish it and we know people, if they love this place and they love the people there, they would not harm each other so they would make a previous checkup or something so they can avoid that situation happening. Also, for us, we came with certain precautions. We came here, we made sure, you know, we are not, we got sanitizer, we don’t have a lot of contact towards a lot of people, just in case. But in the end, it never ruined the fun. It never ruined the spirit” he says.

The wider United Arab Emirates has at least 28 confirmed cases of the virus, a small number compared to the 3,750 cases regionwide, but concern here is growing.

Antibacterial pumps are stationed throughout the event and organizers are giving out masks to attendees to protect the visitors.

Nationwide, schools and universities will be shut down for four weeks beginning Sunday.

The few frequent fliers trickling out of Dubai International Airport, the world’s busiest for international travel, say it is emptier than they’ve ever seen it.

Meanwhile, a host of big events including Dubai’s annual boat show and art exhibition have been put on hold.

Comic Con is going ahead and Dubai’s cosplayers are determined to put on a show.

Visitor Emma, who prefers not to reveal her identity, says she is not scared of the virus: “I always wear a mask because I prefer to have my identity as a secret. Coronavirus does not make me scared that’s why I came here to Comic Con because I know and I believe that this event is ready and prepared for this issue. I have seen lots of antibacterial gels (in Arabic), masks, and even if you are not feeling well you can ask a doctor or something.”

Bibi Zumot, another Comic Con visitor is glad his favorite event has survived.

“It’s the only event that managed to survive the whole government, them to try to block everything. So all events were canceled or postponed but comic con really managed to pull it off and trust me we are thankful for it. I am sure they are thankful for that as well.”

“It is kinda rare thing especially in Dubai so it is super nice to have this, even if it is just once a year, it is satisfying to have these community of cosplayers, comic fans, anime fans, all these kinds of groups all in one place and interact with each other. Complete strangers wearing complete strange outfits. It is just awesome and super fun and it is just a great atmosphere in this place.” says Rashed.

Comic Con runs 5 to 7 March at the World Trade Centre. Some sixty thousand people are expected to attend.

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