Coronavirus news bulletin from UAE: Active Covid cases fall; 1,288 new recoveries reported; special flights to bring stranded Indian expats; PIA resumes regular flights
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:
A massive testing campaign coupled with a high recovery rate has worked in the UAE's favour, with active cases on Thursday declining to a four-digit number for the first time in 70 days. With 9,679 active cases, the UAE's strategy to 'test, test and test' has paid off as the country cautiously reopens to returning residents and tourists with strict safety measures in place. The last time the number of active cases was below 10,000 was on April 30, when it stood at 9,947. The UAE's recovery rate now stands at 81.32 per cent compared with the global average of 58.17 per cent, and the country has been leading the world in Covid-19 tests per million of population. Another two million tests will be conducted over the next 60 days, authorities have announced, totalling a whopping six million tests by the end of August, or more than 60 per cent of the UAE's total population.
The Ministry of Health and Prevention on Thursday reported 532 cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, along with 1,288 recoveries. One new death was also reported. More than 49,000 new Covid-19 tests have been carried out, the ministry added. At 9,679, the number of active cases in the country has dipped below 10,000 for the first time in 70 days. Prior to today, the last time the number of active cases was in four-digits was on April 30, when it stood at 9,947.
The wait is finally over for Indian expats holding UAE residence visas who can now fly back to the emirates during a period of 15 days, starting July 12, thanks to an interim agreement between the civil aviation authorities of the two countries. Thousands of Indian expats have been stranded in India since March when both the countries closed their airspaces to curb the spread of coronavirus. Chartered flights operated by UAE carriers will also be allowed to repatriate Indians home under the pact. Return flights to the UAE may also carry UAE residents, India's civil aviation ministry said on Thursday. However, only passengers with ICA or GDRFA approvals can fly to the UAE on Air India and Air India Express, officials said. Authorities said the travel agreement reflects the close strategic partnership between the two governments.
His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai's Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management, said His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai's vision to strengthen the emirate's preparedness to tackle challenges was instrumental to Dubai's success in mitigating the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic, a statement issued said. Sheikh Mansoor's remarks came during a visit to the Field Hospital, which was set up at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) as part of the emirate's efforts to provide the highest quality of care for coronavirus patients. The visit marked the closure of the Field Hospital a day after it discharged its last patient
All Covid-19 patients have been discharged from three hotels used to quarantine them, Emarat Al Youm reported. Mohammed Al Zarooni, director of Sharjah medical area, said that all of the three hotels are free of Covid patients now and only one other hotel still has a few patients, who are recovering fast. Since the beginning of the global pandemic, authorities in Sharjah have tested more than 500,000 people for the virus, he pointed out, while emphasising that the tests will cover all areas in the emirate. The authorities are targeting to test between 1,500 and 2,000 people every day to stymie the spread of the virus. Al Zarooni added that more medical and screening centres will be opened in different areas across Sharjah to carry out free Covid test.
UAE-bound Indian expats can now get their Covid-19 tests done at laboratory approved by the Indian government ahead of their travel to the emirates. The UAE will accept Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) laboratory results from any lab authorised by the government of India. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has listed laboratories that perform the real-time RT-PCR test, the TrueNat test, and the CBNAAT test for Covid-19 across the country. The document released by ICMR on July 7, which Khaleej Times has studied, revealed there are 600 labs that offer real-time RT-PCR test service, of which 372 are run by government facilities and 228 are run privately.
Emirates has announced it will resume flights to six more destinations. The flights will restart to Geneva from July 15, Los Angeles from July 22, Dar es Salaam from August 1, Prague and Sao Paulo from August 2 and Boston from August 15, the airline has said in a statement. This will take the airline's network to 58 cities by mid-August, including 20 points in Europe and 24 points in the Asia Pacific. Adnan Kazim, Emirates' Chief Commercial Officer, said: "We've seen an uptick in customer interest and demand since the announcement of Dubai's reopening, and also with the increased travel options that we offer as we gradually re-establish our network connectivity. We continue to work closely with all stakeholders to resume operations while ensuring that all necessary measures to safeguard the health and safety of our customers and employees are in place."
Dubai's flagship airline Emirates made redundant more pilots and cabin crew this week in a fresh round of job cuts warranted by the grounding of its operations in the wake of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Already, the airline has trimmed of its workforce as part of a massive rightsizing exercise started more than two months ago. The airline's workforce of 4,300 pilots and nearly 22,000 cabin crew could shrink by almost a third from its pre-coronavirus levels.
The UAE's Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) has shared detailed a Q&A on the permits required to enter the country. For getting an entry permit, the applicant must enter the details of a family member inside the country. Return permits are available to all categories of residents, but priority is given to first-level relatives of residents who are inside the country, people of determination and professionals working in the healthcare sector, energy and communications sector, educational sector, business and economic activities sectors. Here's all you need to know: link
The booking office of Air India Express in the Capital has temporarily shifted operations to India Social and Cultural Centre (ISC) Abu Dhabi at Al Mina. The office will be open daily from July 10 from 9am to 6pm. ISC has opened the doors of its main hall and ensures proper Covid-19 safety protocols are followed, an ISC office bearer said.
A total of 13 international airlines have resumed scheduled flights this week as Dubai opened its skies to tourists from July 7. In addition to foreign carriers, Dubai-based Emirates and flydubai have boosted their schedules. Airlines resuming operations to Dubai Airports include Air Blue, Air France, Cebu Pacific, EgyptAir, Ethiopian Airlines, Gulf Air, KLM, Lufthansa, Mahan Air, Middle East Airlines, Pakistan International Airlines, Philippine Airlines and Royal Jordanian.
The Authority of Social Contribution - Ma'an's 'Together We Are Good' programme has expanded its health support initiative to enable Abu Dhabi residents affected by the current health and economic situation to access medical treatment for chronic illnesses.
The latest healthcare initiative will support residents with other valid health insurance who have reached their existing medical coverage limits. The 'Together We Are Good' programme will cover people who suffer from heart disease or high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma or other lung diseases. VPS Healthcare will provide patient consultation and nursing as part of their CSR commitment to the 'Together We Are Good" programme
The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) will resume regular flight operations to the UAE from Thursday, but the passengers are required to get their Covid-19 tests carried out 48 hours prior to the travel date. The tickets for flights to the UAE were already up for grabs, reports Dawn news. The passengers would be able to travel to Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain from Pakistan through the airline's regular flights.
All the five Ras Al Khaimah hotels used as quarantine facilities are now free of Covid-19 patients, said Major-General Ali Abdullah bin Alwan Al Nuaimi, General Commander of the RAK Police, who is also leading the emergency, disasters and crises team in the emirate. Four quarantines were gradually freed of patients over the last few days, he added.
"Such an incredible job would not have been possible without the support of the wise leadership."
The dedication and commitment of all the parties involved, particularly those on the frontlines, including the health, police, security, and supportive teams, was amazing, he underlined.
Stranded expats delighted as they can finally return to second home
After nearly four months of anxious waiting, UAE expats stranded in India have breathed a sigh of relief after India's civil aviation authority announced it will give UAE residents stuck in India a 15-day window to return home. Many have been separated from their jobs and their loved ones for months, and could not thank the UAE and Indian governments enough for making this possible
The spread of Covid-19 and the threat of a second wave is likely to affect staging of sporting events around the world for a while. To date, UFC President Dana White said the fighters will be "going back-and-forth to Abu Dhabi" from its headquarters in Las Vegas "until the world comes back". But it's not just the Mixed Martial Arts promotion that is likely to be hosted on Yas Island but other sporting events too. The local authorities have deployed more than 1,500 event personnel and Yas Island employees within the 'Safe Zone' to ensure strict Covid-19 precautionary measures. The entry roads have been sealed and access restricted for the general public. Local authorities have gone the extra mile with stringent safety measures and also conducted thousands of Covid-19 tests of staff and fighters - a process that still continues.
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