Coronavirus Pandemic

Coronavirus news bulletin from UAE: 483 new cases announced; advisory issued for reopening malls; Abu Dhabi to reopen bus services Filed on April 23, 2020
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(Photo: Shihab/KT)

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 announces 483 new cases, 103 recoveries

The UAE on Wednesday announced 483 new cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, bringing the total number of infected persons to 8,238 as of Wednesday, according to the Ministry of Health and Prevention. During the routine virtual press briefing on Covid-19 on April 22, Dr. Farida Al Hosani, official spokesperson for the UAE health sector, said 103 patients have fully recovered from Covid-19, taking the total number of recoveries to 1,546. Six new deaths of Covid-19 patients were also reported on Wednesday, bringing the death toll to 52. The official said 31,807 new coronavirus tests were conducted across the country over the past day.

Dubai issues safe shopping tips for Ramadan

While the normal life is thrown out of gear due to the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, it is still imperative to follow safety rules especially as the holy month of Ramadan is set to begin. The Dubai Municipality shared important shopping tips on their official Instagram account, encouraging staying home and ordering food online. In the Instagram post, Dubai Municipality wrote: 'Keep your family safe during Ramadan. #StayHome, make sure to order your food needs electronically, and don't buy more than you can store to avoid wasting food. #RamadanKareem #DubaiMunicipality'.

Abu Dhabi issues advisory for reopening of malls

Malls and shopping centres in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday were issued a circular on precautionary measures to be taken for reopening of their facilities. The latest development comes as Abu Dhabi government plans for a gradual increase in economic activity to offset impact of Covid-19 pandemic. Accordingly, the Department of Economic Development Abu Dhabi (ADDED) is exploring options in collaboration with the private sector. ADDED is consulting with stakeholders on reopening of malls. The department has reached out to owners and managers of shopping centres and malls. Even as there is no mention of any date for reopening the facilities, the department has suggested an array of precautionary measures to be taken. As per information, the working hours will be from noon to 9 pm, except for supermarkets, pharmacies and money exchange houses which will be allowed to operate from 9 am till midnight.

Inside Warsan Healthcare Centre for Covid-19 patients in UAE

UAE's Emirati Covid-19 warriors, including Mohammad Matar, the director of the Warsan Hospitality and Healthcare Centre for Covid-19 patients have not seen their families for the past 25-days. Though it comes at a great personal sacrifice and there are several challenges while working in the frontlines battling the pandemic, Matar and his team believe nothing feels greater than serving the nation. Matar, one among of Covid-19 warriors, who has taken up residency at the facility, said, "My team and I have spent 25 days away from our families. It is difficult, there are no breaks. My team and I just completed 17 hours (Wednesday), and we do this seven days a week, but, when it comes to serving our country, we are proud to serve. Any time, any day." The Warsan Hospitality and Healthcare Centre is all-male, 26-building welfare and medical facility set-up exclusively for Dubai's working-class.

Abu Dhabi to reopen bus services by 6am on Saturday

Abu Dhabi will reopen bus services by 6am on Saturday, the Department of Municipalities and Transport said on Wednesday. The department said it would conduct a 48-hour sterilisation campaign of public bus services from Thursday morning. This is part of intensive efforts by UAE authorities to help curb the coronavirus.

Switch from weekly to monthly shopping, UAE retailers tell residents

Residents should change their shopping habits from weekly to a monthly basis until the coronavirus pandemic lasts, according to one of the major retailers of the UAE. Khalid Humaid bin Diban Al Falasi, chief executive of Union Coop, said this will help not only customers to ensure their own safety by reducing their number of visits to supermarkets but also help retailers and suppliers plan their purchases in terms of stock of goods. Al Falasi was speaking at a virtual Press conference to announce discounts during the holy month of Ramadan. "We urge consumers to maintain monthly shopping as it is beneficial for the country in terms of containing the spread of the virus. It will allow retailers and suppliers to plan well in advance. It will also help consumers save money by benefiting from the discounts," said Al Falasi.

UAE hospitals adhere to strict blood donation protocol

UAE hospitals are adhering to strict protocols related to the selection of blood donors amid the Covid-19 pandemic.This comes as the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) initiated a blood donation drive on April 22, in collaboration with a major healthcare group in the city. Meanwhile, medics assure everyone, that hospitals are following stringent measures pertaining to donor selection and their safety, at the blood donations sites.Medical centers and their camps abide by all criteria as per World Health Organization (WHO), Dubai Health Authority (DHA) and Ministry of Health and Prevention, UAE.

Up to 50% fees reduced at 2 Dubai schools

As the ongoing Covid-19 crisis is being tackled in a united manner by the UAE government and other entities, Emirates International Schools (EIS) has stepped up to ensure that no student is deprived of an education due to financial constraints, as an increasing number of residents face salary cuts and job layoffs. EIS is offering customised discounts on upcoming third term fees for 2020 - up to a 50 per cent reduction in special cases - following extensive consultations with staff and parents. This timely relief is set to ease financial pressure on families and improve their confidence in the security of their children's education. In a few cases, school fees have also been waived for parents who provided documentation showing that their income or jobs had been direly affected.

The Emirati nurse works 12 hours a day, sets example for others

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Wednesday shared a video of an Emirati nurse who is fighting the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic from the frontline.Asmaa Mazyoud Al-Shehhi, who has a baby, works 12 hours a day, at a hospital where she takes care of patients, just like the hundreds of healthcare workers across the country, setting an example of selfless service for others. Greetings and salutations to the heroes of the country, Sheikh Mohammed tweeted.

Video-conferencing for civil cases launched in Abu Dhabi

All trial sessions for civil cases in Abu Dhabi can be conducted remotely via video-conferencing to ensure continuity during Covid-19, authorities announced on Wednesday. The Abu Dhabi Court of First Instance said that it has endorsed the use of teleconferencing to conduct remote hearings in civil cases throughout the emirate. The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD) explained that this will include all civil chambers, personal status, rental, summary matters and inheritance cases in addition to case preparation. The new measure is part of telecommuting and business continuity plan approved and being implemented by the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department in line with the efforts made by the UAE to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dubai's Majid Al Futtaim Group stands by 44,000 staff in these tough times

Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) Group, one of the largest conglomerates operating in the UAE and region, on Wednesday said that it will not cut jobs and basic salaries of its 44,000 employees despite all-pervasive doom and gloom in the region following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. "We have taken a decision that we are not going to furlough people...and we are not going to touch the basic salaries," said Alain Bejjani, chief executive officer of MAF Group. "It means a lot, during tough times, to make sure that we are one family and we are dealing with our people in the best possible way," Bejjani said in a statement sent to Khaleej Times. Previously, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Ajman Bank and Danube Group had stated that they would not furlough people in 2020 despite the outbreak of Covid-19.

DWTC authority announces new measures for businesses in Dubai

Taking stock of the global turbulence, and recessionary pressures triggered by the rapidly evolving context of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority (DWTCA) unveiled a series of impactful measures to aid sustainability of businesses within its ecosystem, in alignment with the city's stimulus package recently announced under the directives of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Dubai World Trade Centre Authority (DWTCA), announced a comprehensive support programme covering key sectors associated with the DWTCA portfolio - Meetings Incentives Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE), Free Zone [FZ], Retail and Commercial Real Estate - providing critical remedial aid to tackle some the most immediate challenges faced by clients and vendors, in particular the most vulnerable and deepest hit businesses.

UAE, Pakistan working on increasing repatriation flights

The UAE has coordinated with Islamabad to allocate additional flights to repatriate Pakistanis stranded in the UAE. Around a dozen repatriation flights will depart the UAE between April 20 and April 28 and they they will be operated by Emirates, Air Arabia and PIA, sources said. As many as six flights of the UAE carriers have been allocated which includes five by Dubai-based Emirates and one Air Arabia flight. In addition, seven flights of Pakistan International Airlines would be repatriating citizens of Pakistan the April 20 to 28, 2020. The first repatriation flight of PIA took off on Saturday, April 18, carrying 227 people to Islamabad. While four additional flights repatriated 1,000 Pakistanis to Lahore and Karachi on Monday, April 20. Around 40,000 people had registered with the Pakistan Consulate in Dubai for repatriation recently. It includes over 10,000 overseas Pakistanis who were rendered jobless because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Mobile pharmacy caught selling sub-standard masks, gloves in UAE

The department of economic development has busted a mobile pharmacy selling sub-standard masks and gloves that were found to be of unknown origin. The department was tipped off about the illegal activity of the mobile pharmacy by a young Emirati man. "Staff inspectors rushed to the reported site in Al Dheit South area after being alerted," said Faisal Alyoon, manager, control and trade protection department. A vehicle, packed with masks, gloves, hand sanitisers and some plastic tools, was found stationed at the location, he added."Around 200 masks, 2,500 gloves, sanitisers and other stuff were seized." When asked, the owner of the car said he had already sold some masks, gloves and hand sanitisers over the last few days.

Sharjah Police to fire Ramadan cannons without presence of public

Ten Ramadan cannons have been prepared to be fired from different government facilities in the emirate of Sharjah during the holy month, the General Command of Sharjah Police have said. The locations where the cannons have been placed are Sharjah Radio and Television building, the Special Operations Department in Al Mirqab, Buhaira Police Station, Al Suyouh, Al Hamriyah, Al Dhaid, Al Madam, Kalba, Khorfakkan, and Dibba Al Hosn. A top Sharjah Police official said that this year, the police will not allow public gathering at the areas where cannons will be fired due to the precautionary measures put in place to contain the spread of coronavirus. He called on members of the public, who happen to pass through the places where cannons are fired, not to gather there, in order to ensure their safety as well as that of others.

Get kids vaccinated in new UAE drive-thru facility

Now, children in Abu Dhabi can be vaccinated in a new drive-thru facility launched by the Ambulatory Healthcare Services (AHS). Introduced as part of efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus, the child vaccination drive-through service enables visitors of select Seha healthcare centers to get their child vaccinated without having to step out of their cars. To avail of the service, patients need to call a dedicated number prior to or upon their arrival to the clinic. They will then be guided through a triaging process to determine whether the service can be provided in the car, following which they will be registered and a suitable medical team will be sent out to provide the service.

 Abu Dhabi National Oil Company supporting UAE volunteer initiative

The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) has announced its support for the 'UAE Volunteers' initiative launched by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, to consolidate nationwide volunteering efforts to help combat Covid-19. The UAE Volunteers initiative is managed by Emirates Foundation(EF) and was launched earlier this month in collaboration with government entities, voluntary groups, and the private sector. Adnoc's partnership in the UAE Volunteers initiative reinforces its commitment to supporting programmes that create a positive social impact on local communities and aligns with the UAE government's humanitarian efforts to mitigate the impact of Covid-19.



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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