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Coronavirus Pandemic

Coronavirus news bulletin from UAE: 465 new recoveries reported; firms bolster war on Covid; 45 more special flights to India Filed on June 10, 2020
UAE coronavirus , Covid-19, China, warning, Coronavirus outbreak, lockdown, pandemic, Dubai, new cases, Covid-19 death, recoveries

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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:

Breakthrough technology for mass testing to be rolled out in UAE

An Abu Dhabi-based company has developed a breakthrough technology in mass screening for Covid-19 that can be a game-changer in the UAE's fight against coronavirus. Group 42, an artificial intelligence and cloud computing company, has partnered with the UK's Oxford Nanopore Technologies to develop population-wide testing that can rapidly and accurately detect coronavirus. The testing method, which is expected to be ready within weeks, can be done on collected swab samples. The company is also aiming to make the technology work directly from saliva. Moreover, it can also be used to analyse environmental samples to assess the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus on surfaces, or in systems such as water and sewage treatment facilities.

UAE reports 528 new Covid-19 cases, 465 new recoveries, two deaths

The UAE's Ministry of Health and Prevention on Tuesday reported 528 new cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, along with 465 new recoveries. Two deaths were also reported. More than 37,000 new Covid-19 tests have also been carried out, the ministry added. The ministry wished a speedy recovery to all patients, calling on the public to abide by the precautionary measures in place and follow all necessary medical advice in order to avoid more infections. On Saturday, the UAE government announced that its health entities have crossed a new milestone of 2.5 million tests for Covid-19 in the country.

Mohap adopts digital platform to quickly identify people at risk of transmission

A digital platform for Covid-19 testing that uses citizens' health data to quickly identify people at risk of transmission is among the several preventive and precautionary measures adopted in the UAE. The platform used by the Ministry of Health and Prevention (Mohap) has a centralised early warning feature that notifies the relevant public health authorities of new cases. This came as the Fourth Industrial Revolution Council held its periodical meeting, chaired by Sarah bint Yousif Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Sciences and Chair of the Council. During the meeting, the Mohap presented the other initiatives it has adopted: 1. Smart systems in epidemic investigation: It includes control panels to track infection rates and transmission cases that are linked to relevant public health authorities. This forms a robust and comprehensive network designed to maintain the health and safety of all citizens. These systems have been implemented in 78 government entities, 33 private sector facilities, 10 clinics and nine isolation buildings.

Phase 7 of sterilisation drive, Covid-19 testing in Abu Dhabi's Musaffah begins

Phase 7 of the sanitisation programme and Covid-19 testing in the Musaffah area of Abu Dhabi will begin today with Blocks 42 and 43. The programme is being implemented by the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi in partnership with relevant entities. In a series of tweets on Tuesday evening, Abu Dhabi Media Office said: "This comes after the success of the first six phases of the campaign. Residents welcomed the procedures, and expressed their appreciation for the efforts being made to protect their health and safety. "Daily commercial activities will continue as usual. Entry and exit will be restricted while the area is being sanitised. "No legal action will be taken against those violating visa regulations. Protecting the community's safety and curbing the spread of coronavirus is the top priority.

85-year-old Emirati woman dies of Covid-19 contracted during family gathering

An elderly Emirati woman died of Covid-19 after contracting the virus during a family gathering, according to a family member. Her four children and six grandchildren were also infected and couldn't attend her burial. Al Ain-based Abdullah bin Qasir Al Darei told Khaleej Times on Monday that his 85-year-old aunt passed away on Saturday and was buried in Al Ain.  "We lost our beloved aunt, Nasirah Al Darei, because of coronavirus. Her four children, who are in the hospital couldn't even see her body or attend the funeral. They didn't even have chance to receive condolences. It was only through phone calls," said Al Darei. He said the elderly woman had contracted the disease during a family gathering, where 10 other members of the family, including her four children and grandchildren were also infected.

Youngest Emirati stranded abroad: Newborn returns to UAE as father fights coronavirus

The youngest Emirati stranded abroad due to coronavirus pandemic has returned to the UAE from Kuwait. Despite the suspension of commercial flights in Kuwait as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the UAE Embassy in Kuwait in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, MoFAIC, repatriated two-month-old Zeina Al Amiri, the child of Dr. Abdullah Al Amiri, who was born in Kuwait this past April. Zeina's mother and older brother Zayed were based in Kuwait since July 2019, as Dr. Al Amiri was completing the Cleveland Clinic Service Excellence Training Programme in the United States. However, with the onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr. Al Amiri returned to the UAE in March 2020, joining the ranks of frontline healthcare workers to combat the spread of the virus. "After ten months apart, and in coordination with the MoFAIC and the UAE Embassy in Kuwait, an emergency passport for my child Zeina was issued, and my family returned safely to the homeland," Dr. Al Amiri recalled.

Emirati creates Twitter data analysis tool for Covid-19

An Emirati faculty member at Khalifa University of Science and Technology, Abu Dhabi has created a new web tool for the analysis of Covid-19 Twitter data in the UAE. This tool offers the public insights into conversations, emotions and sentiments concerning Coronavirus. The tool titled 'Analysis of Cross-linguistic markers of Covid-19 Tweets in the UAE' shows that public sentiments remain positive and trustful of the government's actions towards mitigating the spread of the disease, reflecting the UAE's effective measures against Covid-19. The web tool developed by Dr Aamna Mohammed Al Shehhi, Assistant Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, facilitated understanding of social impacts of Covid-19 by creating a Twitter dashboard that offers an insight into social media conversations among members of the public. Analyzing linguistic markers in social media posts helps in assessing and evaluating changes in the narrative about Covid-19, while understanding the social and emotional reaction to different government actions.

45 more special flights to India from UAE, 44 of them to Kerala

There will be 45 special flights to India from the UAE during the third phase of 'Vande Bharat Mission', with 44 of them operating to Kerala and a lone service to Odisha. Few days back, 25 flights, including eight to Kerala, were added as part of the last leg of phase-2 from June 9 to 19. As per revised schedule, five of them - Delhi, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Hyderabad and Lucknow - will fly between June 21 and 23. But new announcements and revisions have met with stoic silence from stranded passengers from states other than Kerala. Thousands of stranded Indians are all prayers hoping for seat in any of the flights in the second phase as they see none for their states in third phase. Al Dhafra-based worker Arun Kumar is inconsolable. He lost his mother back home in Uttar Pradesh on Monday. "I want to leave urgently. I am waiting helplessly here."

No decision yet regarding the start of on-campus classes in UAE schools: Ministry

The UAE's Ministry of Education (MOE) took to social media to quash rumours about on-campus classes for UAE school students starting August 30, 2020. "The MOE denies what's being circulated that the next school year, starting 30 Aug, will have school students attending on campus," the Ministry tweeted on Tuesday. "No decision has yet been taken on the matter and the nature of the learning process will be decided according to health developments & precautions," it clarified, putting to rest the rumours that a decision had already been taken. Hussain bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education, had on Monday said the UAE academic year will start on August 30, as per the calendar already approved by the Ministerial Development Council. Administrative and teaching staff will begin working on August 23.

Expat gives birth a day after husband passes away in Dubai

A day after her husband passed away in his sleep in Dubai, a pregnant Indian expat, who had filed a repatriation petition to the Supreme Court of India, delivered a baby girl on Tuesday, Khaleej Times has learnt. Twenty-seven-year-old Athira Geetha Sreedharan, whose husband Nithin Chandran, a mechanical engineer in Dubai, passed away early morning on Monday, June 8, gave birth to the couple's daughter at approximately 11 am (UAE time), said Hyder Kodanad Thattathazhath, president of Incas Youth Wing. Nithin was an active member of the Incas Youth Group, where he was the coordinator of blood donation organisation - Blood Donors Kerala. According to the official death notification document issued by the Ministry of Health Preventive Medicine Department, a copy of which Khaleej Times has seen, 28-year-old Nithin died due to a congestive heart failure.

Indian mission receives 50 applications to arrange chartered flights

The Consulate-General of India in Dubai has received approximately 50 applications from community welfare groups and private companies to arrange chartered flights to repatriate stranded Indians, a consulate official has revealed. Out of these, a total of 33 applications have been submitted by the Dubai wing of Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre (KMCC), said Neeraj Agarwal, Consul, Press, Information, and Culture. On Tuesday, heads of the KMCC confirmed that a total of three chartered flights will depart from Sharjah to Kozhikode in Kerala, starting June 11. Flight tickets are being priced at Dh990, according to Dubai KMCC president Ibrahim Elattil. Agarwal confirmed the reports, and said: "Approvals for three flights have come through. The first Indigo flight, organised by the KMCC, will depart from Sharjah to Kozhikode on June 11 and two more are scheduled on June 12. The approvals for the remaining 30 flights are under process."

Art community in UAE comes together to deliver 12,000 meals to frontliners

An initiative born out of Alserkal Avenue's Pay It Forward campaign has now seen close to 12,290 meals being delivered since May. When Covid-19 presented its own challenges to medical frontliners and those whose livelihoods were impacted by the pandemic, INKED café in Alserkal turned its premises into a community kitchen, ensuring that the small team of four members (many were restricted by #StayHome protocols) supplied food on a daily basis. "The campaign started overnight when Alserkal decided to launch Pay It Forward," said Patrick Jarjour, co-founder of INKED. "Every time there is an opportunity to communicate and make a difference through food, we're happy to step in. We decided to open our kitchens for cooking meals with the existing staff and wanted to deliver 9,000 meals during the month." The team now endeavours to deliver 10,000 meals in the month of June.

UAE ministry issues warning against low-cost online tuition offers

Don't be lured by low-cost tuition offers to enroll your children for online study at schools outside the UAE, as certificates issued by such schools will not be recognised, the Ministry of Education (MoE) has warned parents. The caution follows various advertisements on social media that have been circulating pertaining to cheaper available options for online education by bodies that are not formally recognised. Parents in the country have time and again been calling for reduced tuition fees, stating that the full school fees cannot be justified in a distance learning environment. The UAE closed schools across the country in March to prevent the spread of Covid-19, offering e-learning to pupils instead. The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) approved home-schooling group iCademy has also reaffirmed MoE's word of caution. The group averred it is important that parents know who they are enrolling their children with, when it comes to any form of online learning.


Ismail Sebugwaawo

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