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Coronavirus news bulletin from UAE: 779 new cases announced; Dubai eases back to normalcy; Sharjah's major tourist sites reopen

ismail@khaleejtimes.com Filed on May 27, 2020
UAE coronavirus , Covid-19, China, warning, Coronavirus outbreak, lockdown, pandemic, Dubai, new cases, Covid-19 death, recoveries

(KT file photo by Abdul Karim)

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 779 new Covid-19 cases, 325 recoveries

The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention on Tuesday announced 779 new cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, as well as 325 recoveries. MoHAP also reported 5 deaths in the country as a result of the disease. The new cases were detected through 28,000 more tests. The total number of infections stand at 31,086 as on May 26, while recoveries are 15,982. The death toll is 253. Earlier on Monday, Minister Abdul Rahman Al Owais announced that the UAE had conducted an additional 41,000 tests, taking the total number of tests in the country to 2,044,493. The ministry wished a speedy recovery to all patients, calling on the public to cooperate with health authorities and comply with all precautionary measures, particularly social distancing, to ensure their safety and protection.


We are responsible, say residents as Dubai gets back to business

Dubai residents are treading with caution as they gradually decide to venture out with the city reopening many business activities starting today. As Khaleej Times speaks to them, many have said their outdoor activities will primarily be restricted to necessary outings and not leisure trips. Indian expat Arijit Nandi said: "My family and I will only be stepping out for work and not to have a nice time outside or for non-essential trips. It's a good initiative by the Dubai Government to open up things and it is in people's interest. "But citizens and residents need to be careful and responsible and take baby steps towards venturing out until we achieve full recovery."

Consulate General of India issues advisory for citizens

The Consulate General of India has issued an advisory stating that its passport and attestation services will resume operations in full capacity starting tomorrow (Wednesday, May 27) in keeping with the easing of restrictions for various establishments across the UAE. The authority requested all applicants to abide by social distancing norms and wear masks and gloves at all times. BLS centre locations that would resume regular operations for passport services are: Al Khaleej Centre, Bur Dubai; Zeenah Building, opposite Deira City Centre; Abdul Aziz Majid Building on King Faisal Street in Sharjah; Sharjah Indian Association; Indian Social Club in Fujairah; BLS Ras Al Khaimah; Ajman Indian Association; and Al Abdul Lathif Al Zarooni Building on King Faizal Road in Umm Al Quwain.

Malls in Dubai can now open until 10pm, at 70% capacity

Starting tomorrow (May 27), malls in Dubai can operate at 70 per cent of their capacity, according to a Dubai Economy circular seen by Khaleej Times. Until today (May 26), they are allowed to operate at 30 per cent capacity. According to the document, malls can remain open between 6am and 10pm. Hygiene protocols include mandatory face masks for everyone, mandatory 2-metre social distancing for patrons and a rigourous sterilisation routine by the operators and mall tenants. Here is a list of operational changes at malls in Dubai from May 27:1. Increase in occupancy ceiling to 70 per cent of common areas and gross leasable areas, and an increase in capacity level of staffing to 70 per cent 2. All mall operators must synchronise their protocols and measures with the reopened establishments within the malls to ensure maximum safety measures are aligned and followed.

DXB airport issues stricter safety protocols as it readies to welcome passengers

The Dubai Airports has confirmed its readiness to support the resumption of scheduled operations by Emirates airline at Dubai International (DXB). In a media advisory, Dubai Airports said: "All flights will operate from DXB's Terminal 3 and those travelling are required to wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and arrive to the airport four hours before their flight (but not more than four hours prior to flight time) to allow time for additional security measures. Stating the precautions that passengers need to take, DXB Airport said in a statement: "Travellers without confirmed tickets, passengers without proper PPE, and passengers who arrive to the airport earlier than 4 hours before their scheduled departure time will not be permitted to enter the terminal buildings. Passengers should also be conscious of curfew timings and have tickets available for presentation if and as required by Dubai Police."

Mohamed bin Zayed, President of Indonesia review global fight against Covid-19

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, on Tuesday reviewed the global fight against Covid-19 today with President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo. This came via a phone call, wherein the two leaders discussed the international efforts made to stem the virus' fallout on all fronts. The conversation touched on the prospects of furthering bilateral relations to the best interest of the people of the two countries. They exchanged Eid Al Fitr greetings and wished continuing progress, development and prosperity for all countries of the world.

Reusable N95 masks 3D-printed in UAE

Since the Covid-19 outbreak began, the single-use, medical-grade N95 masks have become a rare find. And people have been urged to save them for the frontliners. Now, a university in Abu Dhabi has found a way to make N95 masks reusable and eco-friendly. The New York University-Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), in an innovative project, has 3D-printed an N95 mask that is comfortable and can be re-sterilised after use - while maintaining the high level of protection it offers. Led by Anthony Tzes, programme head and professor of electrical and computer engineering at NYUAD, the project seeks to bridge the gap between the supply and demand for these masks that have become part of critical protective wear for healthcare professionals and the public.

Sharjah's major tourist sites reopen

Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) on Tuesday, May 26, announced reopening its popular leisure and entertainment destinations as well as restaurants following the completion of sterilisation and disinfection drive.Major tourist destinations Al Qasba, Al Majaz Waterfront, Al Noor Island, The Flag Island, Heart of Sharjah, Mleiha Archaeological and Ecotourism Project, Khorfakkan Beach, Maraya Art Centre and 1971-Design Space have opened doors for visitors. In addition, the City Sightseeing Sharjah (CSS) has also begun transporting guests to tourist sites across the emirate. Shurooq's other properties - The Chedi Al Bait, Al Badayer Retreat, Al Faya Retreat and Kingfisher Retreat - will also be offering hotel stays in line with the UAE's precautionary health guidelines aimed at combating the spread of Covid-19.

Eateries at malls in Dubai to operate at own capacity

From May 27, food and beverage outlets at malls in Dubai can operate at their own capacity, provided they place tables two metres apart. Alternatively, restaurants can set up separators/screens between tables.

Dubai allows 50% staff back in offices; to resume normal working hours

Offices can resume normal operating hours from tomorrow, according to a comprehensive and updated list of guidelines issued by Dubai Economy for the reopening of establishments. Organisations will now be allowed to increase the occupancy ceiling to 50 per cent in common areas and within office premises. They can also have a workforce capacity of 50 per cent working from the office, as opposed to the previous cap of 30 per cent, according to the document viewed by Khaleej Times. All elevators must have markings on the floor that indicate appropriate social distances and users must comply by standing on these markings, it added.

Dubai Metro to run from 7am until 12 midnight

The Road and Transport Authority in Dubai has announced that the Dubai Metro will operate until 12 midnight starting today (Wednesday, May 27). On weekdays (Saturday to Thursday), the trains will run from 7am to 12 midnight while on Fridays, they will run from 10am to 12 midnight. The Metro has currently been operating from 7am until 9pm amid country-wide restrictions on movement to counter the spread of Covid-19. The Metro's schedule has been revised as Dubai prepares to ease back to normalcy after the Eid Al Fitr break ends today. Starting today (May 27), the emirate is set to reopen leisure destinations like cinemas and recreational venues like Dubai Dolphinarium; extend mall timings until 10pm; and reopen gyms and sports centres.


Dubai coaching classes set to reopen, but at 50% capacity

Training institutes across Dubai that "offer education services to students aged between 12 and 60 years" are gearing up to welcome their students back in campuses, starting tomorrow. Like all other businesses, these centres had earlier been closed as a precautionary measure against the spread of Covid-19. The Knowledge and Human Resources Development Authority (KHDA) has confirmed sharing certain regulations with the coaching institutes, for a phased reopening from Wednesday, May 27. The easing of restrictions is applicable to centres offer professional and management development training; computer and language training; technical and occupational training; and fine arts, calligraphy, music, dance, sculpture and drawing.

Be extra cautious-now more than ever, say doctors in Dubai

Doctors in Dubai are urging residents not to let their guards down even as the city begins to ease restrictions. Most doctors feel that it has become more important to be cautious and practise social distancing and good hand hygiene. Dr Geoffrey Zachariah, general practitioner at Prime Medical Centre, said: "The government's new slogan during this phase of the pandemic is that everyone should be responsible. This means that everyone needs to maintain stringent precautionary and preventive measure." Elderly and children, he said, would still need to stay at home as they are more susceptible to infections. "A trip to the cinemas would only be advisable if social distancing can be maintained. Gym-goers need to bear in mind to constantly sanitise their hands and gym equipment before using them."

UAE delays ban on water pipe tobacco, e-cigarettes without digital tax stamps to 2021

The Federal Tax Authority, FTA, has issued a decision to postpone the implementation of the ban on supplying, transferring, storing, and possession of water pipe tobacco - known in Arabic as 'mu'assel' - and electrically heated cigarettes in the UAE that do not carry digital tax stamps until January 1, 2021. The ban had previously been scheduled to come into effect on June 1, 2020, in keeping with the timeline set for launching phase two of the 'Marking Tobacco and Tobacco Products Scheme', the authority said in a statement on Tuesday. The scheme seeks to protect consumers from commercial fraud and low-quality products, limit negative impact on public health, and enhance control systems set up to combat tax evasion.

Salons in Dubai can operate at 50% capacity

Salons and barbershops in Dubai will be permitted to operate at 50 per cent capacity from tomorrow, according to a fresh set of guidelines for the reopening of establishments issued by Dubai economy. The document specifies that these outlets will only be permitted to offer hair and nail services - and must be taken by appointment. Home services are not permitted - neither will spa, sauna, Moroccan bath, or massage services. All kids salons (outside malls) will also reopen at 50 per cent capacity for all services permitted to salons, and must follow all the measures in place for adult salons and barber shops.

StayHome made world greener; now we have to keep it that way'

Covid-19 restrictions have led to several environment gains and #StayHome also allowed people to see mobility in a new light. Now, experts are looking into the challenge of sustaining these positive changes. Earlier this month, the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi said the Capital has reported a 62 per cent drop in air pollution in just two months. The EAD attributed continued improvement of air quality in Abu Dhabi to government efforts to control public and traffic movement as part of Covid-19 precautionary measures. There was also a significant decrease' in nitrogen dioxide emissions in the GCC countries between November 26 last year and March 27, according to the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre.

Pandemic gives Dubai chance to put tech to the test

From smart police helmets to research labs, the novel coronavirus has given Dubai an opportunity to test its technological and scientific clout as it shapes its approach to the pandemic. A key part of the emirate's fight is its Covid-19 Command and Control Centre, set up to coordinate the efforts of Dubai's doctors, epidemiologists and other professionals. It is hosted within the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU) in Dubai's Healthcare City, also home to state-of-the-art hospitals, labs and research centres. "For several years, Dubai has endeavoured to put in place solid digital infrastructure, and this has contributed to the fight against the coronavirus", said Amer Sharif, who heads the multidisciplinary centre.


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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