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Coronavirus Pandemic

Coronavirus news bulletin: 626 new cases reported; UAE crosses 2.5m tests; medical machine worth 3.6m installed to fight Covid; over 20,400 Pakistanis repatriated Filed on June 7, 2020 | Last updated on June 7, 2020 at 08.12 am
UAE coronavirus , Covid-19, China, warning, Coronavirus outbreak, lockdown, pandemic, Dubai, new cases, Covid-19 death, recoveries

(Photo: Ryan Lim Khaleej Times)

A round-up of major developments related to Covid-19 across the country.

Here's a round-up of all the latest Covid-19 developments you need to know:

UAE crosses new milestone of 2.5m Covid-19 tests

With 52,996 more Covid-19 tests conducted in the last 24 hours, the UAE has crossed a new milestone of 2.5 million tests, while global cases topped seven million on Saturday. The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention announced 626 new cases of Covid-19 infections, 724 cases of recovery and 1 death.  Dr Farida Al Hosani, official Spokesperson for the UAE Health Sector, said that in light of these exceptional circumstances, it is mandatory for all residents to have healthy lifestyle and habits. "Our commitment is a national obligation that helps us to tide over this crisis," she added. About 30 per cent of global cases, or two million infections, are in the United States. Latin America has the second-largest outbreak with over 15 per cent of cases. Globally, deaths from the novel coronavirus are approaching 400,000.

UAE reports 626 new Covid-19 cases, 724 recoveries

The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention on Saturday announced 626 new cases of Covid-19 infections, 724 cases of recovery and 1 death. This brings to total number of cases to 38,268, recoveries to 21,061 and the deaths to 275 in the country. This brings to total number of cases to 38,268, recoveries to 21,061 and the deaths to 275 in the country.

Is there any infection risk from recovered Covid-19 patients?

Recovered Covid-19 patients pose no threat to others, a top official has said. Authorities ensure that infected cases don't leave hospitals or quarantine facilities without fully recovering. During a virtual Press briefing on Saturday, Dr Farida Al Hosani, official spokesperson for the UAE health sector, said: "Covid-19 incubation starts two days before developing any symptoms and lasts up to eight days after the symptoms appear."  Dr Farida said more rumours about Covid-19 have been detected. "Misinformation and disinformation are still spreading panic and destabilising society. "Residents are urged to avoid fake tips, guidelines and predictions on social media and websites. Get news and facts from trusted sources only and double-check any information you read or receive."

UAE installs Dh3.6m medical equipment to fight Covid-19

The Abu Dhabi Stem Cells Center, ADSCC, has announced the installation of a piece of cutting-edge medical equipment that should help scientists reveal new insights into the Covid-19 virus. The ADSCC, a specialist healthcare center that focuses on cell therapy, regenerative medicine and research on stem cells, has acquired and installed a Helios Mass Cytometer, which is able to count and classify a sample, cell by cell. The cytometer, the only one of its kind in the Middle East, costs Dh3.6 million and is a major investment by the ADSCC in its leading-edge capabilities during the fight against Covid-19. The Helios cytometer will enable scientists at the center to quickly and accurately profile individual human cells, allowing them to study and monitor a patient's immune response to the virus, revealing insights about the pandemic from the "patient defense" point of view.

5 years jail, up to Dh100,000 for causing infection to special needs person

A care provider who causes Covid-19 infection to a special needs person, intentionally or due to negligence, could face up to five years in prison and/or fined up to Dh100,000, according to the UAE laws. "Besides all forms of support the country extends to people of determination, the UAE law protects their rights under the current circumstances," pointed out Dr Hassan Elhais, legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates. He said the country's law on communicable diseases, which came into effect six years ago, criminalises any intentional behaviour that results in spreading infections among all community members. "People of determination are, of course, included under the protection of this law and other laws as well," he added. "Those who are entrusted with the task of caring for people of determination may face up to five years in prison and/or a fine of not less than Dh50,000 and not more than Dh100,000 if they intentionally or due to negligence cause infections to them," said Elhais.

Over 20,400 stranded Pakistanis repatriated from UAE

More than 20,400 stranded Pakistanis, including 15,000 from Dubai and 5,000 from Abu Dhabi, have been repatriated onboard special flights from the UAE. Sayed Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari, special assistant to Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resources Development, noted there were a total of 82,400 stranded nationals in the UAE and everyone will be repatriated. "It's a momentous task to bring back such a large number of people with limited flights, tests and quarantine but no effort will be spared till everyone is accommodated as they've the same right to be in Pakistan as we do." Some 214 bodies and 394 prisoners have been flown out till date. Among the stranded people are 21,843 who have lost their jobs, 34,497 placed on paid and unpaid leaves, 16,000 overstaying on visit visas and stuck tourists, and 6,902 emergency cases. More than 16,000 distressed people have been provided food and essentials across the UAE.

UAE-made ventilator designed, built in under 8 weeks

In just eight weeks, UAE researchers have built a mechanical ventilator prototype to meet the additional requirements of the country's healthcare, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. The project team created the M061 ventilator system, a modular and scalable prototype, relying on interchangeable components that are easy to source and integrate, in an effort to circumvent the worldwide scarcity of crucial medical supplies. Khalfan Belhoul, CEO of the  Dubai Future Foundation (DFF), said that Project M061 was initiated and implemented under the directives of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the DFF, to address the urgent need for large numbers of mechanical ventilators that play a crucial role in treating patients with severe symptoms of Covid-19.

Drive-in ceremony sees high school students graduate in Ras Al Khaimah

A drive-in graduation ceremony in Ras Al Khaimah saw high school students collect their education certificates even as they adhered to all social distancing and precautionary measures. In a YouTube live video, the students of RAK Academy International Secondary School can be seen in parked vehicles around a stage. As each student's name is called out, he/she comes up to the stage and collects the certificate after sanitising his/her hands. They are dressed for the occasion in graduation gowns and gloves and masks. The highlight of the evening was when His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, addressed the students virtually. His video message was broadcast on a large screen placed at the venue. The students were also treated some high-octane music and a laser light show.

UAE-based university's 2020 graduates shine on Burj Khalifa

Canadian University Dubai (CUD) made history on Friday becoming the first university in the world to display images of its graduating class on the world's tallest building. The Dubai-based university's 10th graduation event recognised its class by illuminating the faces of 2020 graduates on the Burj Khalifa. The virtual graduation ceremony took place in the presence of Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Tolerance, and was live-streamed on the university's website and social media channels. "CUD showed us that no matter what the situation is, they can find a way to celebrate us and make us feel happy. Having my picture displayed on the most iconic building of Dubai made me feel really appreciated and thrilled," said Dana Haroun, who just graduated.

UAE students brighten up Covid-19 isolation areas with paintings

Students in the Capital knew fighting Covid-19 could be tough so they decided to add splashes of happy colours to isolation units. The youth of Aspen Heights British School in Al Bahya painted artworks to brighten up the surroundings of patients and medical professionals who are working round the clock to beat Covid-19. And their paintings will be hung on the walls of the isolation floors at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. Sisters Keira and Khloe Ucat, aged 13 and 11, collaborated on a piece inspired by their favourite film. "We wanted to support and encourage frontliners and patients during this tough time. We wanted them to know that we're all in this together and that we are supporting them by staying at home to prevent the spread of the disease. Tough times won't last but tough people do," said Keira.

Movement restrictions in Abu Dhabi an important step, says official

The UAE can overcome the Covid-19 pandemic if all people adhere to the required health and preventive measures, said a senior health official in Abu Dhabi. Matar Al Nuaimi, Director-General of the Abu Dhabi Centre for Public Health and director of the Crisis and Emergency Department at the Department of Health in Abu Dhabi, spoke about the importance of the movement restrictions in providing a comprehensive view of Covid-19 cases in different areas and in curbing the spread of the virus. The week-long movement restrictions on entering and exiting Abu Dhabi and travelling between its regions started on June 2 to ensure mass Covid-19 testing so as to contain the spread of the virus. "Our goal at the Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre is to protect all members of the community. Regarding the movement restrictions between the regions of the emirate, it is very important to have a comprehensive view of the Covid-19 cases in the aforementioned areas and to curb the spread of the virus in other places," Al Nuaimi said in a statement issued by the Abu Dhabi Media Office on Thursday.

Parents worried about kids' e-learning as offices resume

The news that private companies in Dubai could return to 100 per cent capacity was welcomed by many - but it has also raised concerns among working mothers who are worried about leaving children at home, unsupervised. In the time of Covid-19, many parents have had to take on the additional role of helping kids achieve their e-learning goals in recent months. Mum-of-two Athessa Descat says recent weeks have not been easy at all, what with managing the home, the kids' e-learning sessions and assignments, as well as her own work as a consultant. "I've communicated to my boss that with the present situation and schools not opening before September, I would not be able to work a full day outside the home," said the French expat, whose daughters are aged 14 and nine.

Gold jewellery chain repatriates staff from UAE in chartered flight

More than 170 employees and families of jewellery group Malabar Gold & Diamonds have left for India on a chartered flight operated by Air Arabia. The Sharjah-Kozhikode flight on Thursday carried 171 passengers, including 25 children. "We gave priority to the elderly, team members with pre-existing health concerns, those with families and those who have been terminated or have opted for extended leave to be with their families in India," said Abdul Salam KP, group executive director of Malabar Group. The group plans to charter more such flights to repatriate around 500 employees and their families from the UAE to various destinations across India, including Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and West Bengal. The group said it planned to open 18 stores in India this year and that it would give priority to "team members terminated from the international operations" to be hired at the stores.

Ismail Sebugwaawo

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