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Coronavirus news bulletin from UAE: 47 infected after family gatherings; 'social distancing in Eid is national duty'; 200K tests in Abu Dhabi

Ismail Sebugwaawo /Abu Dhabi
ismail@khaleejtimes.com Filed on July 28, 2020
uae, abu dhabi, dubai, covid-19, coronavirus testing

(KT file)

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:

47 infected with Covid-19 after family gatherings in UAE
A top UAE government official has warned against hosting gatherings, after recent meetings were found to have caused Covid-19 infection spread among multiple families. Dr Omar Al Hammadi, the official spokesperson for the UAE government, said 47 members of five families contracted the virus as they hosted gatherings. Addressing a virtual Press briefing on Monday, the official said the 47 individuals were of different ages and got together with their extended families during weddings and other social occasions. They had failed to adhere to precautionary measures like mask use and physical distancing. The official stressed the need to avoid gatherings during the four-day Eid Al Adha break that starts on Thursday.  
 
UAE reports 264 Covid-19 cases, 328 recoveries, 1 death
The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention on Monday reported 264 cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, along with 328 recoveries. One death was also reported. More than 47,000 new Covid-19 tests have been carried out, the ministry added. To further clamp down on the spread of Covid-19, the country has started Phase 3 clinical trials for the vaccine. The trials are being conducted under the supervision of the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi, and in collaboration with G42 Healthcare and Sinopharm CNBG. Meanwhile, it was revealed yesterday that 88 per cent of Dubai residents are satisfied with government's Covid-19 response, according to a poll conducted by the Executive Council of Dubai.

UAE says social distancing is a national duty during Eid Al Adha
Dr Abdul Rahman bin Mohammad bin Nasser Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention, on Monday praised the important role and great sacrifices that the heroes of the first line of defence have taken during the coronavirus crisis.  He said that the efforts of the medical sector and other teams who are protecting society and preserving the health of all are continuously contributing to the rates of recovery across the country. Al Owais was keen to congratulate the frontline heroes on the occasion of Eid Al Adha, pointing out that many individuals often spend these occasions away from their families, which is a great personal sacrifice which deserves great thanks and appreciation. Al Owais stressed the need to adhere to preventive measures during the holiday period, noting that the practice of strict social distancing is increasingly important on such occasions and is a the national duty of all society, especially considering what is at stake. 

Abu Dhabi conducts 200,000 Covid-19 tests in residential areas in 1 month
More than 200,000 Covid-19 tests have been conducted in 15 residential areas of Abu Dhabi during a period of one month, the Abu Dhabi Media Office has announced. The screenings were carried out by the Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee in coordination with Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha) and the Department of Health Abu Dhabi (DoH) in the first month of its home-screening initiative in residential areas. "The initiative eases the burden of visiting testing centres on the elderly and vulnerable citizens and residents and supports the expanded testing strategy, which is considered the most effective way to reduce the spread of Covid-19 and maintain public health," the Abu Dhabi Media Office said on Twitter. The initiative is in line with the National Screening Programme in Abu Dhabi. Efforts will continue to conduct tests as part of the initiative, said authorities. 

6,000 people tested daily for coronavirus at Dubai-Abu Dhabi border
Up to 6,000 people are being tested daily for coronavirus at the rapid testing facility on the Dubai-Abu Dhabi border near the Ghantoot checkpoint, Khaleej Times has learnt. The laser test that gives results in less than five minutes and costs only Dh50 has eased up commute between Dubai and Abu Dhabi ever since it was launched last week. Residents with a negative Covid-19 test (PCR) result will be allowed to enter Abu Dhabi within 48 hours of receiving the result. "We have the capacity to test 10,000 people daily. Currently, the numbers are going up to 8,000 over the weekends and 6,000 during weekdays," Abdullah A Rashdi, spokesperson for Tamouh Healthcare, the Abu Dhabi government-run medical company that manages the facility, told Khaleej Times.

Abu Dhabi announces mandatory Covid-19 tests for all tourism sector staff
In line with the 'Go Safe' certification programme spearheaded by the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), and endorsed by the government of Abu Dhabi, regular Covid-19 testing for all tourism sector staff has been made mandatory. The move is part of DCT Abu Dhabi's extensive and ongoing efforts to ensure the health and safety of its residents and visitors and follows the recent launch of the 'Rediscover Abu Dhabi' campaign aimed at engaging with the myriad staycation and touristic offers made available to visitors within the UAE capital. Abu Dhabi has received international praise for its highly successful efforts in containing the spread of Covid-19, and the emirate continues to achieve positive outcomes as a result of the combined initiatives and regulations that have been introduced to minimise the spread of the virus. 

Flying to Abu Dhabi but can't find approved Covid testing centre in your city?
Starting August 1, UAE residents flying to Abu Dhabi will need to present a negative Covid-19 PCR test result at check-in, Etihad Airways has announced. According to the airline's website, the result must be issued by a Pure Health approved medical facility (https://bit.ly/PureHealthCentres) and "you must travel within 96 hours of your test". If residents can't find a Pure Health facility in the city they are stranded, they can get the test done from "locally approved medical clinics" (https://bit.ly/EtihadGuide). If travellers test positive for Covid-19 or if they are unable to present proof of a Covid-negative test result from an approved testing centre, they will not be permitted to travel. Children under 12 and people of determination are exempt from Covid-19 PCR testing.  

60% staff of private firms in Abu Dhabi to report to work
Private sector companies in Abu Dhabi may now have 60 per cent of its staff working from office, it was announced on Monday. The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (DED) has issued a circular to this effect to private sector firms. High-risk employees are required to work remotely. The Abu Dhabi DED has detailed precautionary measures that must be adopted to keep employees safe from Covid-19. These include conducting body temperature checks on all employees and visitors; ensuring mandatory wearing of face masks and gloves; ensuring a 2-metre social distance between employees; and closing all social spaces.

Dh3,000 fine if caught not wearing face mask in public place
Those caught not wearing face masks in public places or closed crowded areas will be slapped a fine of Dh3,000 immediately, Abu Dhabi Police have said in a renewed warning. The police reaffirmed that wearing face masks while moving out and practicing social distancing is still a must to curb the spread of Covid-19. The face mask must cover both the mouth and the nose and no exceptions or excuses, such as smoking or failing to wear them properly, will be accepted, said the cops. The UAE government had in May tightened the noose on "reckless and irresponsible" people flouting Covid-19 guidelines, including increasing the fine for not donning a face mask to Dh3,000.

author

Ismail Sebugwaawo

A professional journalist originating from Kampala, Uganda, Ismail is a happy father with strong attachment to family and great values for humanity. He has practiced journalism in UAE for the past 13 years, covering the country's parliament (FNC) and crimes, including Abu Dhabi Police, public prosecution and courts. He also reports about important issues in education, public health and the environment, with a keen interest in human interest stories. When out of reporting duties, he serves the Ugandan community in Abu Dhabi as he wants to see his countrymen happy. Exercising and reading are part of his free time.


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