Government communication introduced important lessons during the worldwide experience with the COVID-19 pandemic. It is important to apply known efficacious principles of risk and health communication strategies. The purpose of the study is to depict and explore the United Arab Emirates government communication scenario in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic as well as look at the types of strategies, information and messages delivered via digital mediums to handle challenges that are raised based on the Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication model. The study includes a qualitative analysis of two government bodies’ digital platforms: ‘The Ministry of Health and Prevention’ (mohap) and ‘Crisis and Disasters Management Authority’. Results indicated that the UAE government used different communication aims and strategies to face the pandemic according to the risk management scenario. In the quarantine phase, communication focused on giving people information about the disease, raising awareness about the disease, motivating health and behaviour change, informing people about government decisions and procedures. In the coexistence phase communication focused on emphasising the necessity of adherence the health measures, providing information on re-work in institutions and commercial centres, involving people in the health and social initiatives, confronting non-compliance with health precautions. Government communication also focused on facing rumours and false information. UAE government communication used digital platforms and social media to address more than 200 nationalities living in the state for ensuring that they adhere to the precautionary measures and coordinate with the authorities. Government communication was committed to a set of values including equality between citizens of the state and residents, societal and individual responsibility, recognising the frontline medical staff and acknowledging their sacrifices. UAE implemented an integrated, coherent and effective scenario to deal with the crisis. It developed risk communication strategies in health communication to manage the COVID-19 crisis by following international standards and also took into account its own political, economic, social and cultural features. The UAE government used many strategies to inform and convince people including clarification of measures strategy, reassurance strategy, ambiguity reduction strategy, behaviour efficacy strategy, correcting misinformation and rumours, advising strategy. © 2021 SAGE Publications.