Expo 2020 Dubai, the delayed world fair which opened last week, yesterday said three workers on the project had died after contracting COVID-19, bringing the number of fatalities at the worksite since 2015 to six workers.
Recently, the organiser had disclosed three work-related deaths and 72 serious injuries among 200,000 workers during construction of the site, defending the accident rate as less than half of that of building work in Britain.
"Unfortunately we had three worker related deaths due to COVID. That was during the course of the pandemic," Expo representative Sconaid McGeachin told a daily briefing. McGeachin said the three deaths disclosed earlier were construction-related.
She referred reporters to local authorities for comment on how many Expo workers had so far caught COVID-19.
The United Arab Emirates does not give a breakdown for COVID-19 cases and deaths for each emirate, including regional trade and tourism hub Dubai.
Huge projects in the Gulf region such as the Expo, and Qatar's preparations for hosting the 2022 FIFA soccer World Cup, have faced international scrutiny, with rights groups criticising conditions for low-paid migrant workers. Overcrowding in worker accommodation was one of the main factors causing a surge of infections in the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf states at the start of the pandemic.
The country has rolled out one of the world's fastest vaccination campaigns, with more than 80% of the population of some 10 million people inoculated. The UAE is betting the six-month Expo will attract 25 million visits.