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Coronavirus news bulletin from UAE: 477 new cases confirmed; Dubai extends 24-hour sterilisation programme; Muslims can perform Taraweeh at home

Web Report
Filed on April 18, 2020
coronavirus , Wuhan, Covid-19, China, warning, travel, Coronavirus outbreak, lockdown, pandemic, Combating coronavirus

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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:

UAE reports 477 new cases, 2 deaths, 93 recoveries

The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention on Friday announced 477 new cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus along with two deaths and 93 recoveries.

More than 24,000 tests were conducted to detect the new cases. The total number of infections in the country stand at 6,302 as of April 17, while total recoveries are 1,188. The deceased were identified as Gulf nationals, who had tested positive for Covid-19 and died due to complications. This take the death toll in UAE to 37.

Stay home for another week

Dubai on Friday said the 24-hour sterilisation campaign will be extended by another week. The Supreme Committee for Crisis Management said the National Disinfection Campaign that began on April 4 was a success, and the extension would curb the spread of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19. The extension of the campaign was based on careful assessment of the situation, said a release from the Dubai Media Office.

All residents are urged to stay at home during the campaign. However, they are allowed to step out with permits to obtain essential food supplies, medicine or perform essential jobs in vital sectors. Residents violating these restrictions would face legal action, the release said.

Energy, communication, health, education, security, police, military, freight, pharmaceuticals, water, food, civil aviation, airport, passport, finance and banking, and government media sectors, in addition to the services sector, which includes gas stations and construction projects, are included in the list of vital sectors.

Muslims can perform Ramadan Taraweeh at home

The Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department, said though mosques will remain closed during the holy month of Ramadan, people can still pray the special night prayers - Taraweeh - in their homes with their families. Congregational prayers, including those offered on Friday, were suspended across all mosques in the UAE from March. Muslims who pray Taraweeh to finish reading the Holy Quran can hold on to the book in their hands and recite while praying, added the department.

You are among families

The Emirates Red Crescent (ERC)said it would care for families of Covid-19 victims from all nationalities in the UAE.  The gesture is part of the country's initiative, 'You are among your Families.' The initiative mirrors the ERC's keenness to express solace to families that have lost one of its members due to Covid-19 and alleviate its humanitarian repercussions and negative impacts on their lives. The ERC will provide everything that these families need and contribute to enhancing their ability to overcome the ordeal of losing a loved one.

PIA flight to repatriate 200 Pakistanis today

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) will launch special flights to repatriate stranded Pakistanis in the UAE from Saturday.

"The first special PIA flights from Dubai will repatriate up to 200 passengers to Islamabad. The airline is finalising a plan to launch several special flights during next week to repatriate stranded Pakistani nationals in the UAE," according to a source in PIA.

Currently, 40,000 people have registered with Pakistan Consulate in Dubai for repatriation. It includes over 10,000 overseas Pakistanis who have been rendered jobless due to the coronavirus outbreak. PIA special flight operations will be expanded gradually to six airports in Pakistan, including Lahore and Karachi.

Pakistan's Ambassador to the UAE Ghulam Dastgir appreciated the UAE authorities' cooperation in repatriating stranded Pakistanis and said both the governments have coordinated their efforts to facilitate travel during this crisis. He said ticket prices for special flights are slightly on the higher side as the airline will not fly with a full passenger load. 

371 Indonesians fly home from UAE

A total of 371 stranded Indonesians were repatriated in two special flights from Dubai and Abu Dhabi airports. Those who flew out of Dubai include 204 cruise crew members while 167 Indonesian nationals went back home from Abu Dhabi.

The four cruise ships were docked in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Seven Seas Voyager, Norwegian Jade and Nautica cruise ships were in Dubai since last month and Azamara Quest arrived in Abu Dhabi mid-March. Since the Covid-19 restrictions were imposed, all crew members were stranded in their ships. Of the 215 crew members, 11 decided to continue their work contract. All passengers were tested negative during Covid-19 tests, which were conducted for free by the local health authorities.

'Worker's suicide not linked to coronavirus'

The Dubai Police have denied rumours that an Asian worker's suicide in Jebel Ali Industrial Area is related to Covid-19. 

Brig Adel Al Suwaidi, director of Jebel Ali Police Station, said a 47-year-old worker committed suicide on Friday morning by cutting the arteries of one of his legs and then jumping off the third floor of a building.  He fell on a mini bus and suffered severe injuries.  Brig Al Suwaidi told Khaleej Times that his medical reports didn't mention that he was infected with Covid-19.  


Abu Dhabi lab tests 1,000 samples a day

A laboratory in Abu Dhabi City is operating round the clock, testing more than 1,000 Covid-19 samples a day. Khaleej Times was offered a first-hand experience of the tests done inside the highly-protected laboratory environment. Proficiency Healthcare Diagnostics (PHD), part of Al Borg Medical Laboratories, functions across four floors of a tower carrying out many vital tests. Here, samples are tested for Covid-19 on an automated molecular division on a secured floor.

UAE parents use Twitter to seek fee rebate

 Parents of the students of the UAE's largest education group, Gems Education, launched a public demand for a blanket fee reduction on social media on Friday. 

The Twitter hashtags #HelpGEMSParents and #GemsComingTogether topped Twitter trends in the UAE on Friday. On one hand, a group of parents took to Twitter demanding a blanket fee reduction by using the #HelpGEMSParents, voicing their concerns and their inability to afford the Term 3 fees amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

On the other hand, Gems Education has offered a means-tested discount on school fees, subject to parents submitting their financial documents. The group said on Thursday, up to 20,000 students from the network will benefit from its relief package and parents who agree with the policies started an opposing Twitter trend #GemsComingTogether, which saw over 2,900 tweets from parents, principals and teachers.

Dubai's education regulator has maintained that schools and parents need to maintain transparency with each other in the matter of 'school fees. "Some schools may be able to offer financial relief to all parents while others can only give it to parents who need the most. If you feel uncomfortable giving your school your financial information, please ask them to share their general eligibility criteria with you," said the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) in its FAQs.

Emirati singer to join global artists in eight-hour live digital show

Emirati singer Hussain Al Jassmi will participate in the historic "One World: Together at Home" cross-platform global special that will bring together some of the world's biggest artists to celebrate healthcare workers combating the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Doctors and philanthropists will also join the eight-hour digital live stream and broadcast event today at 10pm, which is expected to draw over two billion viewers worldwide.

The event, launched by the Global Citizens, will feature some of the world's leading artists led by Lady Gaga including Oprah Winfrey, Matthew McConaughey, Formula One Champion Lewis Hamilton, Andrea Bocelli, John Legend, David Beckham, Celine Dion, Alicia Keys, Taylor Swift, Idris Elba and Usher.

Al Jassmi will join the digital live stream and TV special with some of his hits including the latest track Benaady (this will pass) that celebrates efforts to overcome the global coronavirus pandemic and sends messages of hope, solidarity and unity against the crisis. He will make his appearance alongside some of the world's leading celebrities including Elton John, Paul McCartney, Shah Rukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Ellie Goulding, Lady Antebellum, and Zucchero Fornaciari.

Hotline for workers to report suspected cases

Authorities in Abu Dhabi have launched a new helpline for the workers in the Capital to report any suspected cases of Covid-19.

Workers can call 909 and the executive at the operations centre will take down details of the suspected case in labour accommodations and initiate necessary preventive measures to ensure health and safety. The department urged workers to cooperate and take part in free tests. Workers can call 8001717 for medical assistance.

The Abu Dhabi Police also started awareness drives as vans covered all industrial areas making announcement about the venues for free tests. Two of the many free test clinics are held on 9th and 12th streets of Mussafah.

Future technologies lead fight against Covid-19

Drones and robots serving communities, use of digital solutions and innovative technologies will be the new world order, an expert said as activities move online globally in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic.   Emerging technologies will redefine the future. For now, technology is a crucial tool to fight against Covid-19, said Sana Odeh, clinical professor of computer science at NYU New York, and affiliated faculty at NYUAD.


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