Covid-19: Dubai Inc more agile now
Emirate assures government will support economy, residents all the way
The coronavirus pandemic has been an eye-opener for economies around the world, and Dubai's efforts in mitigating its effects have been successful thanks to the government's leading efforts and the compliance of society, a senior official said on Wednesday.
As such, the lessons learned have put the emirate in a position to be able to prepare for and cope up with a second wave, should it happen.
"God willing, we will not have this pandemic back again. We are more ready than before Covid-19 as we have been testing everything [like the role of] government departments, social interaction and [the role of] businesses. Now we are much more agile. Businesses in Dubai understand from this pandemic how they need to revisit their models. We are ready if - hopefully not - we have another wave of Covid-19 or any other disease that might spread," said Mohammed Shael AlSaadi, CEO of the Corporate Strategic Affairs Sector at Dubai Economy.
He said there won't be any more precautionary measures once this pandemic has been phased out, which he expects to be overcome soon as the number of Covid-19 cases has drastically come down, indicating that the UAE has combated this pandemic very well.
"This pandemic is not a native Dubai problem but for the entire world. We always assure those who choose Dubai or the UAE as their second home that we'll work with you hand-in-hand as a government. In the last three months, the guidelines that were released were co-drafted in consultation with the private sector, considering their operational point of view. The government is not living in a very high-top tower, looking at every body from the top; we are with you and working with you to face this challenge together," AlSaadi said during a Market Dialogue webinar hosted by Dubai Economy in partnership with Khaleej Times.
Authorities have focused on two things - people's health and economy - he said, adding that dedication shown by society and businesses in terms of Covid-19 safety compliance are praise-worthy.
"At the beginning, people didn't know what to do, but with the passage of time, people understood that anything government is doing is for their own safety and for the society. A lot of challenges came from the ignorance of the magnitude of the pandemic. But slowly with the government using different social channels to interact with people, they are understanding the need for pre-cautionary measures that they need to adhere to," he added.
As of June 17, people aged over 60 and kids under 12, as well as people having severe health conditions, are not yet allowed to go to closed areas such as shopping malls. He pointed out that guidelines released by the government are a minimum requirement and if those guidelines are met there is no need for extra precautionary measures. But a business can discuss any extra measures with mall management.
"We don't want to have a mall experience more like a policing environment. It should be relaxing and pleasant. We make sure that each entrance of a mall should have either thermal scanner or hand scanner so that everyone is screened." He pointed out that if a business is allowed to operate with 30 per cent capacity, it can operate at 20 per cent capacity but cannot increase it to 40 per cent.Replying to a question about common mistakes people are making, AlSaadi said sometimes people in malls put their face masks under their nose to breath air.
"We encourage everyone to adhere to the safety guidelines. Those guidelines are not to block people's freedom but to make sure that you and others in the same areas are safe."
Social distancing for families
AlSaadi said restaurants can operate at full capacity but must adhere to social distancing and sanitisation regulations. "If there is a family of five to isx people or more, they can sit on the same table, especially if the family is from the same house. They are allowed to do interaction outside the house too."
He said large families can also go to malls together but keep in mind the age bracket.
High-risk patients in malls
In response to a query a high-risk Covid-19 patients visiting a clinic in a shopping mall, he strongly recommended that such people should not visit clinics located within mall premises because they are crowded places.
"If you're a high-risk patient, you need not interact with society; either you should contain yourself in the house or go to a hospital just to get medication. Inside the malls, high-risk individuals are not allowed but If someone is visiting a clinic inside the mall, he needs to show an appointment schedule to the security guard to go in to the mall clinic," he added.
AlSaadi added that sauna, shower and changing room facilities are not yet allowed to become operational.
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