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Coronavirus news bulletin from UAE: 716 new cases; free Covid tests for Al Nahda residents; guidelines for entering Abu Dhabi updated; Dubai all set to reopen for tourists

ismail@khaleejtimes.com Filed on July 5, 2020
UAE coronavirus , Covid-19, China, warning, Coronavirus outbreak, lockdown, pandemic, Dubai, new cases, Covid-19 death, recoveries, fress covid test, sharjah

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 reports 716 new Covid-19 cases, 704 recoveries, 3 deaths

The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) has reported 716 new Covid-19 cases and 704 recoveries on Saturday. The new cases were identified after conducting additional 71,000 tests. MoHAP also announced the death of three patients due to complications arising from Covid-19, taking the toll to 321. This brings the total number of cases to 50,857 and the total recoveries to 39,857.

Free Covid-19 tests for Sharjah's Al Nahda residents

Residents of Sharjah's Al Nahda will be tested for Covid-19 for free from July 5, it was announced on Saturday. The Ministry of Health and Prevention will conduct the 10-day Covid-19 screening campaign in coordination with the Sharjah Police. Residents of the area received an alert on their phones about the screening drive on Saturday. The testing will be carried out at a mobile screening centre set up in Al Nahda Park from 10am to 6pm. Initially, those aged 18 and above will be screened. They are required to bring their Emirates ID and the SMS alert they received. With over 3.625 million tests, the UAE leads when it comes to testing per million population. Worldometer - a reference website that provides counters and real-time statistics - places the UAE in the top four countries when it comes to mass testing.

Abu Dhabi updates guidelines for residents to enter emirate

Residents leaving Abu Dhabi for a couple of days can take a Covid-19 test in the emirate and present the negative result on returning, authorities announced late on Saturday. The result will be valid for reentry for up to 48 hours, the Abu Dhabi Media Office said as it posted fresh guidelines. "Presenting the test result more than 48 hours after receipt will not be considered valid. A new test will have to be taken outside the emirate in this case," the media office added. Previously, only results of tests taken outside Abu Dhabi were considered valid to enter the Capital. As Khaleej Times reported last week, having a Covid-negative result is mandatory to enter Abu Dhabi. The negative test results must be shown to the authorities at the border via the AlHosn app or as a text message from any hospital or screening centre in the UAE affiliated to the National Screening Programme. Children aged under 12 years and those with medical appointments for kidney or cancer treatments are exempted from taking the Covid-19 test.

Dubai all set to reopen for tourists

Marking a turning point in the tourism sector's road to recovery, the world's sought-after destination for tourists is all set to welcome holiday-makers from July 7 following the successful management of the Covid-19 pandemic and Dubai's efforts to revive the sector by reopening tourism facilities including hotels and airports, as well as the resumption of flights. Reassuring tourists of several comprehensive measures to prevent the transmission of the pandemic, Dubai Tourism urged global travellers to make the city that boasts world class health and safety standards "a must-visit destination." Dubai Tourism hosted a virtual forum for stakeholders and partners to share its industry outlook ahead of the city's reopening to international tourists. The forum, which was attended by nearly 2,000 key executives from the aviation, travel and hospitality sectors and across tourism touch-points, provided a first-hand insight into current and post-pandemic strategies that will help accelerate tourism momentum and position Dubai as a safe global destination.

Expats anxious as India withholds approvals for chartered flights

UAE-based Indian welfare groups are anxious about the fate of future repatriation flights from the UAE after two chartered flights to India could not take off on Saturday in the absence of approvals from authorities in India. The Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre (KMCC), a welfare organisation, said the Etihad Airways EY254 flight that it had chartered from Abu Dhabi to Kozhikode on Saturday had to be cancelled 'at the last moment' because the Directorate of General Civil Aviation (DGCA) did not send the permissions necessary for it to land in India. The flight, carrying 183 passengers, was scheduled to take off at 2.20pm from the Abu Dhabi International Airport. Even as official comments from Indian or UAE authorities were not immediately available, Indian media reports suggest that UAE carriers have been verbally informed of a decision barring them from operating any additional repatriation flights to India.

'Residents not yet ready for overseas summer holidays'

Many UAE residents are not yet ready to travel overseas even as the country further eased restrictions, travel agents have said. 'Costly' airfares and the pandemic situation around the world were cited as the top reasons why most families are shelving holiday plans. In its latest travel advisory, the UAE has relaxed guidelines, allowing citizens and residents to fly out to all accessible destinations for 'general' reasons. Safety rules remain in place but those in the country can now travel without applying for a permit from the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship. Around this time of the year - with Eid Al Adha just around the corner and the summer season nearing its peak - travel agencies in the country are usually abuzz with excited residents booking their next vacation. This time, however, there is little to no demand for outbound travel, said a business development manager. While some have expressed interest, many are discouraged after learning about how much the trip would cost.

Technology helps Dubai's RTA serve customers during Covid-19

Through its comprehensive remote work systems and technological infrastructure, the Roads and Transport Authority in Dubai was able to continue its services normally during the Covid-19 crisis, a top official has said. Mattar Mohammed Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors, said the RTA's transformation of all customer services to smart services enabled it to serve customers. Al Tayer made this statement during a visit to RTA's Corporate Technology Support Services Sector. He was briefed about the plans for coping with Covid-19 pandemic, deliverables achieved and tools used to support the technological infrastructure and the remote work environment initiative. The initiative involved providing 1,063 additional computers to employees, activating 850 devices within two weeks, supplying 314 devices to the Call Centre, opening 2,500 VPNs and providing 50 routers to establish an alternative communication for top executives.

Dubai reopens recreation centres, theme parks, summer camps

The Dubai Economy on Friday announced the reopening of various recreational activities, summer camps, spa and massage centres and indoor theme parks with stringent safety measures from Saturday. The announcement is part of phase-wise reopening of business activities in the emirate. Permitted recreation activities include fun fairs, facilities offering rides, soft play facilities, indoor playground and adventures, inflatable playgrounds, virtual reality facilities, edutainment facilities, facilities offering interactive entertainment activities, arcades and escape rooms will reopen. However, parties and social gatherings will not be allowed and baby and toddler soft play areas will not open. All summer camps running in all types of facilities including child centres, schools, hotels, sports clubs and gyms, libraries and art centres will start functioning from Saturday.

What you need to know about hiring a private jet to UAE

As commercial airlines continue to scale down operations amid the global spread of Covid-19, private jets are taking to the skies offering an alternative means of air transport. But this time their clients are not just the well-heeled businessmen or high-net-worth individuals who prefer luxury flying. Private jet companies in the UAE say they are dealing with a new breed of clients - expats who are stuck abroad and desperate to fly back to the UAE or those wanting to return to their home countries. In the last three weeks, since the UAE allowed the return of residents, Hanna claims his company operated 12 flights from Saudi Arabia to the UAE and several flights from various Indian cities to the emirates.

Expat who dozed off and missed repatriation flight from Dubai flies home

A 53-year old Indian expat, who fell asleep and missed his flight back home, has flown to Kerala after spending a night at the Dubai International Airport. P. Shajahan, a storekeeper, flew to Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday. He was originally supposed to fly on an Emirates flight chartered by the Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre (KMCC) Dubai on Friday. He fell asleep in the waiting area of Terminal 3 as the other 426 passengers boarded the flight. After he woke up, Shajahan had to stay put at the airport as his visa was cancelled. S. Nizamudeen, who coordinated the charter flight, told Khaleej Times that Shajahan dozed off as he had not slept all night. "When he woke up, he was in a state of shock. We managed to get him a seat on an Emirates flight on Saturday.

Spreading positivity with music: Dubai's Nadine Chammas conquers charts

If there is one act to be encouraged now more so than ever it is the dissemination of positivity and kindness. If the global pandemic has taught us anything it is that coming together and playing to our strengths, whatever they may be, in order to help others is essential. For Dubai mum of two, Nadine Chammas, it was important to project a unifying message through her passion: singing. The Lebanese founder of The Life Director - a personal and corporate development consultancy - and former theatre director has recently hit local music charts and garnered over 1.2million YouTube views with two tracks, Mish Bas Hayk and Khaleek Ijabi; launched in March and April. "Lately I've been doing a lot of motivational talks about living a positive and healthy lifestyle and how to reprogram your mind to see the positive in every situation," Chammas told City Times about the inspiration behind her music.

Ismail Sebugwaawo


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