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Coronavirus news bulletin: 402 new cases reported; Covid-19 test must for travelling out of UAE; Emirates resumes services to Pakistan

ismail@khaleejtimes.com Filed on July 2, 2020 | Last updated on July 2, 2020 at 10.41 am
UAE coronavirus , Covid-19, China, warning, Coronavirus outbreak, lockdown, pandemic, Dubai, new cases, Covid-19 death, recoveries

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:

Covid-19 test must for UAE citizens, residents before travelling abroad

UAE citizens and residents are required to take a Covid-19 test before travelling abroad, authorities announced on Wednesday. Addressing a virtual briefing on Wednesday, Dr Seif Al Dhaheri, spokesperson for the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA), said travellers must apply for a permit through the website of the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA). Travel is allowed only for specific reasons. At this point, travel for leisure is not permitted, the official said. According to the ICA website, the categories under which a travel permit can be applied for are as follows: Medical treatment, education, work, business, humanitarian reasons and Emiratis who reside abroad. Travellers aged above 70 and those with chronic illnesses should not travel, the official stressed. "All countries are still assessing the situation, and we are following up to identify the destinations where travel is allowed," Dr Al Dhaheri added.

UAE reports 402 new Covid-19 cases, 594 recoveries

The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention on Wednesday reported 402 new cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, along with 594 new recoveries. This brings the total number of cases to 49,069 and the total recoveries to 38,160. One death was also announced in the country as a result of the illness, bringing the total number of deaths to 316.  Different side/after-effects of a Covid-19 infection have been noticed in different patients, said Dr Farida Al Hosani, Official Spokesperson for the UAE Health Sector. Worshippers were back at UAE mosques today morning 107 days after all places of worship were closed in the country to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and protect the masses.

Sheikh Mohamed, Costa Rican president discuss global fight against coronavirus

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, on Wednesday received a telephone call from President Carlos Alvarado Quesada of Costa Rica on the prestigious strategic relations binding the two friendly nations, as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest. President Quesada extended thanks to Sheikh Mohamed for the support provided by the UAE to his country in order to strengthen its medical capabilities to fight the coronavirus pandemic and for repatriating Costa Rican citizens from Abu Dhabi. He also lauded the UAE's efforts in the medical innovation and its global contributions in this field. The call touched on the importance of sustaining global food security and enhancing cooperation in investment and commercial domains.

First-person: Going to a mosque in Dubai after 107 days

It was a strangely familiar feeling as I stepped inside a mosque in Dubai after 107 days. The strangeness of having to carry my own prayer mat to the mosque and wearing masks and gloves while praying was offset by the familiar calm I felt when the imam began the dawn prayer. The UAE's first socially-distanced prayers were offered on Wednesday, July 1, as mosques across the country reopened at 30 per cent capacity. At exactly 4.03am, the call for prayer (Azan) wafted through the dawn. However, after over three months of sending out a 'pray-at-home' message through the Azan, the muezzin welcomed people to the mosque. The clock struck 4. My heart raced as I went through my checklist. Mask, check. Gloves, check. Own prayer mat, check. Soap included in the ablution ritual, check. It was time to leave. As I stepped into the dark, humid outdoors, I felt relaxed.

UAE official lists out tips to stay safe from Covid-19

Dr Farida Al Hosani, the official spokeswoman for the UAE health sector, said majority of economic and social activities have resumed. However, the risks still prevail. "We have noticed that various symptoms of Covid patients differ from one person to another. Different side/after-effects of a Covid-19 infection have been noticed in different patients," the official said. Prevention is the best policy, she said, as she offered simple yet effective tips to stay safe. > Wear masks when stepping out in public > Maintain social distancing > Wash your hands and use hand sanitisers > Practise healthy habits > Exercise daily to boost your immunity.

Faithful relish calm on day 1 of socially distanced prayers in UAE

The faithful relished every moment of peace and calm as they offered their prayers on Wednesday, the first day of reopening for most places of worship across the country. For the first time in more than three months, people heard the phrase "hayya alas-salah" (come to prayer) again from the muezzins of mosques across the country. And worshippers were overjoyed as they heeded the call. Some even called it 'magical'. Abu Dhabi resident Meraj Siddiqui said: "My soul felt revitalised today as I heard the muezzin announce Hayya Alas Salah (come to pray) and I raced towards the mosque. The feeling was magical, soothing. "Life is rolling at a dizzying pace and, today, after over three months I experienced that solace, calmness that I used to feel earlier when I would pray at the mosque." Dubai resident Irfan Yusuf said that when he stepped inside the mosque, he realised how much he missed the sense of peace it brings.

Registration must for Indian expats flying on repatriation flights

Indian expats returning home on special repatriation flights must register with their respective embassies or consulates before travelling, a new circular issued by the government of India states. Those failing to register will not be allowed to travel on the Vande Bharat Mission (VBM) flights. As mandated by the Ministry of External Affairs, India, returnees also need to have updated their passport and mobile numbers. Those failing to do so will be off-loaded at airports, said the circular received by Air India Express, which is operating the repatriation flights. Air India had started direct sale of tickets on VBM flights from June 29, allowing residents to buy tickets online or from the airline's office. Tickets are also available through authorised ticketing agents across the emirates. Previously, the passengers were selected by the Indian missions on a priority basis from the thousands of distressed Indians who had registered on the missions' website.

How the UAE continued to build 'Hope' amid the pandemic

With the UAE's Hope probe launch just a couple of weeks away, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Wednesday beamed inspiration and shed light on what the mission means for the country. "Hope Probe is an accomplishment for every Arab, a source of pride for every Emirati, and a path-breaking achievement for our engineers," Sheikh Mohammed said, as he reviewed the final preparations for the launch on July 15. It is also a testament to the UAE's determination to overcome the impossible. Despite all the challenges arising from the global Covid-19 crisis, the Emirates Mars Mission (EMM) remained on track.

Emirates resumes services to Pakistan

Dubai's flagship airline Emirates has resumed its services to Pakistan's three main cities after temporary suspension because certain passengers were tested positive for coronavirus. However, all the passengers coming from Pakistan to Dubai on Emirates flights must carry a negative Covid-19 report from an approved laboratory with a validity of less than 96 hours. "Following the receipt of relevant government approvals, Emirates has resumed passenger services to Pakistan. Customers can travel to and from Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad if they meet the requirements of their destination," an Emirates spokesperson said in a statement to Khaleej Times. "The health and safety of our crew, customers and communities remains our top priority. Emirates has put in place a comprehensive set of measures at every step of the customer journey on the ground and in the air to minimise the risk of infection spread," said the statement.

Abu Dhabi-run Covid-19 testing centres across UAE to operate daily

Covid-19 testing centres run by the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha) outside the emirate will now operate over the weekends, it was announced on Wednesday. With this, the eight screening centres would be open seven days a week at extended working hours of 10am to 8pm to increase testing capacity. The move will help residents and visitors secure a Covid-negative certificate, which is a requirement to enter Abu Dhabi. Seha's Ambulatory Healthcare Services operates screening centres in City Walk, Mina Rashed and Al Khawaneej centres in Dubai; and in Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah. As Khaleej Times reported on Monday, UAE residents and visitors should have received a Covid-negative result 48 hours prior to their visit. 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.

80% employees in UAE want to continue working from home, shows survey

Around 80 per cent of workers in the UAE want to continue working from home in the post-Covid-19 period because they can save time and money by avoiding a daily commute, according to a new survey by global staffing firm Robert Half. Nearly half - 49 per cent - of the residents feel that they are more productive when they are working from home while 57 per cent say that they can save time and money by avoiding a daily commute. Robert Half survey results showed that 70 per cent of employees in UAE want a staggered work schedule while 59 per cent want a revised office layout for their safety. "The implications of these 'unprecedented times' for business owners and employees alike, however, are not only being felt now but will likely influence working practices and recruitment planning well into the future, given the strength of worker sentiment we're seeing expressed here," said Gareth El Mettouri, associate director for Robert Half.

Abu Dhabi adopts mathematical model to predict Covid-19 spread

In line with guidance from Advanced Technology Reserch Council, the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi (DoH) has collaborated with the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), to develop a new computer-based mathematical model designed to analyse the predicted spread of Covid-19, in addition to providing insight into its foreseeable development in the short and long term. The information produced by this model will contribute to developing pre-emptive plans to tackle the virus and implementing imperative initiatives that will contribute to protecting the health and well-being of the community. The new mathematical model is distinguished from other models by its algorithms that monitor and track the virus in the emirate. This method works by monitoring the available data on the movement of individuals across the city.

Beirut airport reopens; many expats in UAE prefer to stay back

After a closure for several months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport has re-opened for commercial flights on Wednesday. While some Lebanese expats in Dubai booked a seat on the first day of the resumption of the airport operations to spend the summer break at their home country, many others preferred to stay back. "I am not going now because I am worried that I would get stuck there. Second, I prefer to spend the money I will spend there to prepare food boxes and distribute them to needy families," said Abir Chamas, a banker. "About the reopening, I feel it is too risky, especially when one has kids who don't know how to take precautions against Covid-19," she said, pointing out that she will book some staycations (two or three weekends) for her kids to feel some change.

Ismail Sebugwaawo


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