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Coronavirus news bulletin from UAE: 993 new recoveries reported; Dubai closes only field hospital, welcomes tourists; over 33,000 Abu Dhabi Police staff tested for Covid

ismail@khaleejtimes.com Filed on July 8, 2020
UAE coronavirus, Covid-19, warning, travel, Coronavirus outbreak, tourists, Visa, Flight, lockdown, Pandemic,

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 532 new Covid-19 cases, 993 recoveries, 2 deaths

The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention on Tuesday reported 532 new cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, along with 993 recoveries. Two new deaths were also reported. More than 44,000 new Covid-19 tests have been carried out, the ministry added. The UAE tops world countries in per million Covid tests. With another two million tests in the next 60 days, which would mean an average of 33.33 tests daily, the country will touch a whopping six million tests by the end of August. The country is planning to conduct over two million Covid-19 tests in the next two months. The tests will target workers in the services and government sectors, covering public transport and taxi drivers, workers in hotels and malls, as well as government employees. A top official assured that while the daily number of cases has "slightly increased" in the last few days, the UAE's recovery rate remains above 78 per cent, compared with the global average of less than 57 per cent

Dubai hotels abuzz again as tourists check in

As Dubai rolled out the red carpet for tourists today, hotels across the city confirmed experiencing an increased level of engagement. After more than three months of travel restrictions, the emirate's tourism sector pulled out all the stops to extend a safe and warm welcome to inbound visitors. The result is a renewed buzz as holidaymakers snap up the chance to visit one of the world's most popular destinations and experience everything from its famed hospitality to its one-of-a-kind landmarks.

Dubai closes Covid-19 field hospital, bids farewell to last patient

Dubai on Tuesday closed a field hospital set up at the World Trade Centre to treat coronavirus cases after the last patient, a Japanese national, walked out in good health. Doctors and nurses, still wearing protective gear, lined up clapping for Hiroaki Fujita as he left the convention centre which was converted to a 3,000-bed field hospital in April to treat virus patients. "I ask everyone to take a more safer way," Fujita said. "Feeling very good that I am about to go out." The number of coronavirus cases in the UAE has dropped sharply from a peak of 900 a day in May, although there has been a new uptick recently. A majority of the remaining patients are being treated at other hospitals across the UAE and some of them are recovering at home.

Travel will 'normalise soon', says Dubai Tourism chief

Dubai is optimistic about travel "normalising" by winter as more countries are opening up, Helal Al Marri, Director-General of Dubai Tourism, said on Tuesday. In an interview with CNN, he said sentiments have changed from how it was six weeks ago when "everyone was under lockdown". "But today countries are opening up, albeit slowly. But I do expect a lot of countries to open up in the course of the summer. As we come into the fall and winter, travel will normalise," said Al Marri. "People still really want to go on a holiday. We can see that in the searches online and the demand." This came as the first set of tourists landed in Dubai on Tuesday. Videos posted by the emirate's General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) on Instagram show socially distanced travel procedures that are in place at the Dubai airport. The videos show tourists in masks and gloves adhere to all precautionary measures as they clear immigration and other travel formalities

Sheikh Hamdan inspects safety measures at DXB as Dubai opens to tourists

The Dubai Crown Prince has visited the emirate's international airport on day one of its reopening to tourists. Taking to social media, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum posted a video in which he can be seen inspecting all the safety precautions in place at the airport. Seen wearing a mask and maintaining a safe distance from others, Sheikh Hamdan inspects the various arrival points at the airport, including immigration and Covid-19 testing booths. Travel will normalise soon: Dubai Tourism chief "For years, Dubai International has topped the list of airports around the world. Our teams will accept only the top rank and we will retain our top position with extraordinary efforts," he tweeted. "We are optimistic about our ability to retain the exceptional position that Dubai enjoys when it comes to tourism."

Dubai greets first tourists, sees off last Covid-19 patient

Dubai officially welcomed the first batch of foreign tourists even as the DWTC Field Hospital bid a warm farewell to the last Covid-19 patient before being disbanded. Videos posted by the emirate's General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) on Instagram showed tourists in masks and gloves complying with all precautionary measures as they cleared immigration and other travel formalities. On day one when Dubai reopened for tourists, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, visited the airport. In a video posted on his Instagram feed, Sheikh Hamdan could be seen wearing a mask and inspecting various arrival points at the airport, including immigration and Covid-19 testing booths.

Over 33,000 Abu Dhabi Police staff tested for Covid-19 in three months

More than 33,000 police staff, as well as inmates, have been screened for Covid-19 in Abu Dhabi in the past three months, authorities said. The General Command of Abu Dhabi Police said the mass testing programme started in mid-April and was conducted in cooperation with Pure Health, one of largest laboratory operators in the GCC. Three teams of healthcare experts from the Abu Dhabi Police and Pure Health have been working hand in hand to conduct PCR tests, perform laboratory analyses, and generate reports, explained Brig Khalifa Mohammed Mubarak Al Khaili, director of the finance and services sector at the Abu Dhabi Police. Lt-Col Thuraya Ali Al Hashemi, clinical researcher and director of medical services department at the Abu Dhabi Police, said: "The assigned teams are highly qualified to enhance the country's efforts in dealing with the coronavirus epidemic. The focus was on providing continuous testing and protection."

Homeless worker 'who spent nights at bus station' rescued in UAE

Expats have come to the rescue of an Indian worker who had reportedly slept for weeks at a bus station in Abu Dhabi. Gobari Sahani, from the small town of Mau in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, was supposed to earn Dh1,100 monthly as he worked at construction sites. However, he had not received any salary since November. And when the Covid-19 pandemic struck, he was told his pay would be slashed to Dh700 from April. He was also put on double shift but none of his wages for seven months were paid, he told Khaleej Times. He understood it was all work without pay, so he quit the job in the first week of May. "I worked from 7am to 8pm at a villa construction site. I was asked to work again from 2am. My salary was reduced to Dh700. I had salary dues pending from November. But in this Covid-19 situation, I know all that money is lost," said Sahani, who landed in the country on a visit visa in April last year.

Safe and warm welcome as first tourists land in Dubai

Dubai, one of the most visited cities in the world, has officially reopened to tourists. The first set of holidaymakers landed at the Dubai International Airport as soon as the clock struck 12 on Tuesday, July 7. Videos posted by the emirate's General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) on Instagram show socially distanced travel procedures that are in place at the airport. Time-stamped 12.16am and 12.20am, the videos show tourists in masks and gloves adhere to all precautionary measures as they clear immigration and other travel formalities. Some tourists, including children, are barely able to contain their excitement, with some giving the thumbs-up sign.

KHDA briefs school principals in Dubai about new safety protocols

Regular meetings are being held between the schools  and the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) to discuss health and security policies before reopening the campuses in September. A total of 25 principals are attending each session. "KHDA is organising meetings with school leaders to discuss and clear the concerns on school reopening plans in September. Last week, Dr Abdulla Al Karam, chairman of the KHDA, addressed a webinar titled 'New Days - New ways'," said Mohammad Ali Kottakkulam, principal of Gulf Indian High School, Dubai. "Based on parental feedback and varying views of different stakeholders, each school may have its own special concerns and issues which we expect to find the right guidance from the KHDA in these meetings. It will also open up chances for sharing the best practices schools are opting to have in place to ward off or minimise certain issues or concerns," he added.

Sharjah begins crackdown on two-wheeler riders violating traffic rules

Bicycles and motorbikes are increasingly causing accidents in Sharjah, a top police official has said. Lt-Col Muhammad Alay Al Naqbi, director of the traffic and patrols department at the Sharjah Police, said they have begun a crackdown on two-wheelers not adhering to the traffic regulations in the emirate. "We have received a large number of complaints from motorists about accidents due to negligence from bicycle and motorbike riders. Two-wheelers on the roads have increased substantially during the Covid-19 situation as it is being used to deliver foods and groceries.

Ismail Sebugwaawo


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