Here's How United Arab Emirates, South African Soaps Manage to Film in Lockdown

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As U.S. soaps gear up to (hopefully) resume filming, soaps around the globe have already done so. As reported, Neighbours is having its cast members' temperatures taken and axing love scenes temporarily; here's how its counterparts across the world are managing.

Related: Some Aussie and UK Soaps Set to Resume Filming...But with No Love Scenes, Less Makeup

The United Arab Emirates' first soap, Al Mirath (Arabic for Inheritance), debuted in March and is still going strong. Set in Saudi Arabia, Al Mirath focuses on two families that are feuding after a construction mogul's death. But the Abu Dhabi-filmed sudser is actually ramping up at the moment, per The National.

Before COVID-19, Al Mirath was broadcast four times a week; during Ramadan, that was upped to seven times a week, with production continuing. Elie Boghos, head of productions at Image Nation Abu Dhabi, shared:

The rhythm of filming has definitely changed. That’s mostly due to the measures we had to put in place and the logistics we had to figure out in the wake of the pandemic. 

Boghos noted that a cast and crew of 90 has been trimmed to 25 regularly-tested individuals, and daily episodes are mostly filmed in a studio instead of in various locations. He added:

We’re no longer allowing visitors to the set. We sterilise the entire set every two weeks, and everyone at the studio has to wear gloves and masks at all times, except when actors need to film.

Meanwhile, a group of South African actors has taken it upon themselves to start a new remote soap: Lockdown Heights. Centered on residents of the same Johannesburg apartment complex, it's already on its third season.

 Actress Schelaine Bennett told Broadway World:

The president announced the lockdown and within 24 hours my friend, Ayanda Mckayi, sent me a message asking if I'd be busy during the lockdown. I wasn't going to be and so we had a long conversation the next day - him explaining the concept, execution, etc. - and hours after that we had our core cast on a Whatapp group ready to get the show rolling

Check out the opening credits below:

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