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Coronavirus Pandemic

100 days of Covid-19: The proactive steps UAE has taken so far

Staff Report
Filed on April 10, 2020 | Last updated on April 10, 2020 at 06.34 am
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(Shihab/Khaleej Times)

A detailed insight into how the UAE has been battling the coronavirus.

The UAE has been actively working to care for the welfare of its community, taking adequate measures to prepare for the same even before the first case was reported in the country.

So far, it has recorded 2,359 cases, 12 deaths and 186 recoveries. However, it has also stepped up its countermeasures to combat the spread, with the introduction of its first drive-thru testing centres and volunteering campaigns that invite Emiratis and expats alike to join dedicated teams working around the clock to protect the community.

Related coverage:

100 days of Covid-19: Residents revisit the past with optimism

100 days of Covid-19: When UAE reported its first case

100 days of Covid-19: 1.4m infected, over 81,000 dead

The country's leadership has been leading the way, with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, also launching an online campaign called #thankyouheroes to recognise healthcare workers in the UAE.

Here's a timeline of all the proactive steps UAE has taken to battle the spread so far.

March 8
The Ministry of Education announced the closure of all schools and higher education institutions in the UAE for four weeks, as precaution against Covid-19.

March 15
Remote working was activated for two weeks for select categories of public sector employees in the federal authorities.

March 17
Retailers reduced their opening hours from midday to 8pm only - as opposed to their regular 10am to 10pm timings.

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March 22

Students began virtual classes.

March 24

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, launched the Day for Dubai app, as part of the 'Your City Needs You' campaign. The initiative called on Emiratis and expats alike to help the country's various teams working to protect the community.

March 25

- All fresh food markets and commercial centres, including shopping malls, were directed to close for two weeks. Pharmacies, and food retail outlets (including cooperative societies, groceries, and supermarkets) were allowed to stay open. Restaurants were directed to limit their services to deliveries only.

- The National Emergency and Crisis and Disasters Management and the Civil Aviation Authority also announced the suspension of all inbound and outbound passenger flights and the transit of airline passengers in the UAE for two weeks.

- Private companies and commercial establishments implemented remote-work system for 80 per cent of their workforce, as per government directives.

March 26
- UAE began a nationwide disinfection programme to sanitise the country as it fights the spread of the virus.

- An online permit system was launched in Dubai, through which residents could request permission to leave their homes for essential work or purposes. Abu Dhabi and Sharjah also followed by calling on residents to apply for permits if they wanted to step out of their homes.

- The Crisis and Disaster Management Team called on the public to comply with directives for staying at home during this critical period, and noted that violators would be subject to legal action.

March 27
Dubai Police activated radars to monitor motorists violating quarantine measures during the National Sterilisation Program.

March 29
Major UAE retailers adjusted their opening hours from 8am to 8pm as per a government mandate, and due to the sterilisation programme underway in the country.

March 31

The nationwide sterilisation program was extended to April 5.

April 1

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation issued a new remote work policy for private businesses. Under the policy, office-based workers must be limited to 30 per cent of the company's workforce.

April 4

A two-week 24-hour sterilisation campaign began. Residents were directed to wear face masks and gloves at all times outside the home, and follow social distancing measures. Authorities noted they would enforce strict restrictions on residents' movements during this time.

April 5
- 'Early Leave' initiative launched to enable all residents in the private sector who wish to return to their home countries to do so.
- Roads and Transport Authority of Dubai also suspended metro, tram and intercity bus operations until further notice.

April 7

- Dubai Economy announced that all commercial activities, with the exception of vital and support sectors, would remain closed until April 18.

- The Dubai Health Authority announced it has opened its first drive-through Covid-19 testing centre at the Al Nasr Club for the general public. Testing will be carried out free of charge; however, pre-booking is required. Results would be made available in 48 hours. Two more centres are expected to open in Al Khawaneej and Port Rashid.

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