Coronavirus Pandemic

Coronavirus news bulletin from UAE: Daily Covid cases hit record low; two free testing centres open; students can opt for remote learning

Ismail Sebugwaawo /Abu Dhabi Filed on August 4, 2020
uae, covid-19, coronavirus, dubai, abu dhabi

(KT file)

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's daily Covid-19 cases hit record low; no death for third day straight
The UAE Cabinet met in-person for the first time on Monday since the Covid-19 pandemic struck even as the total number of daily cases hit a new low of 164. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, chaired the socially-distanced meeting at the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi. The UAE recorded its lowest number of cases since April, even as it announced no daily deaths due to complications caused by the coronavirus for the third day straight. The UAE has seen a steady dip in the number of reported cases in the past six days. Monday's 164 cases is almost half of what was reported on July 29 (375). The assuring statistics come at a time when the UAE has accelerated its testing and tracing regimes.  
Kids aged over two years should wear masks: UAE official
Children aged over two years must wear masks while stepping out of their homes, a top UAE government official has advised. However, he said that children with breathing issues or chronic illnesses shouldn't be made to wear them. Children who have difficulty removing the masks on their own should be exempted, too, the official added. Dr Omar Al Hammadi, the UAE Government spokesperson, stressed that children are not safe from Covid-19, even though the chances of them contracting the virus are less. "However, they can be carriers of the virus and infect others," said Dr Al Hammadi. This came as the official addressed a virtual Press briefing on Monday. Dr Al Hammadi stressed the importance of wearing masks and ensuring social distancing.  
Abu Dhabi students can opt for remote learning once schools reopen
Students in Abu Dhabi can opt for remote learning when school campuses reopen after the summer break, Khaleej Times can reveal. Confirming this to Khaleej Times, the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (Adek) said: "Responding to a strong call from parents who prefer continuing distance learning for their children, the Adek has approved the option of full-time distance learning for the upcoming term. We have also dedicated a hotline which parents can use to report and address any concerns: 800-COMPLIANC(E) / 800-266754262." Adek had earlier announced that all schools will reopen in September and issued safety guidelines, including mandatory Covid-19 tests for all students, teachers and administrative staff before they return to campus.
UAE reports 164 new Covid-19 cases, 248 recoveries, no deaths
The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention on Monday reported 164 cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, along with 248 recoveries. Nearly 5.2 million Covid-19 tests have been carried out in the country so far, and that has helped the country flatten the curve while other countries brace for peaks. Meanwhile, mosques in the UAE can operate at 50 per cent capacity from today when the country reopens after a four-day Eid Al Adha break. Mosques have been operating at 30 per cent since they were reopened on July 1. Worshippers must maintain a distance of two metres from one another.
UAE surpasses 5 million Covid-19 tests
Abdul Rahman Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention, announced that thanks to the unlimited support of the UAE's leadership, the country has managed to cross 5 million laboratory tests for Covid-19, and that the survival rate for those infected with the disease has risen to 90 per cent. This is a clear indication of the effectiveness of the proactive strategy that was adopted by the UAE Government to confront the epidemic and limit its spread, said the minister. The announcement was made during a media briefing held in Abu Dhabi on Monday during which Al Owais stressed that the UAE's policy to increase the number of laboratory tests has greatly contributed to the early detection and treatment of cases.
Health ministry launches two Covid-19 testing centres in Fujairah
The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) has inaugurated two Covid-19 testing centres in Dibba Fujairah. The centres will let citizens and expats get tested for the coronavirus for free. The centres have been set up in response to the directives of His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Fujairah. The centres are part of a free mass testing drive that's in place across the country. The UAE has introduced one of the world's most comprehensive testing and tracing regimes early on. With accelerated mass testing, the country has managed to carry out over 5 million Covid-19 tests.
Expats detail airport procedures while travelling to UAE
Repeated change in travel protocols and flight cancellations were some of the hurdles that UAE residents stranded in India had to endure before reach back to their "second home". Reaching UAE after being stuck in India for five months, Dubai based entrepreneur Shariq Khan has been constantly tweeting, mailing the authorities concerned, working to get travel approvals, Covid-19 negative certificate, flight bookings, to name a few. "I got my ICA (Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship) approval end of June but that got expired as there were no flights from India to UAE then. Our GDRFA (General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs) approvals came quick and we immediately booked our flights. Getting clarity on Covid-19 negative certificate needed by airlines by a hassle, especially to time the reports with the flight," said Khan, who was in Bhopal but had flown to the UAE from New Delhi.
Sharjah public beaches reopen, residents urged to follow coronavirus safety measures
All public beaches in Sharjah have been reopened following months of closure as a precautionary measure against the spread of Covid-19. The emirate's National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management team said beaches have been reopened from Monday, August 3. The authorities have called on residents and visitors to adhere to all precautionary measures to stay safe, including wearing masks and maintaining an adequate social distance. Cinemas, hotel beaches and swimming pools were among the public spaces that were reopened in June. Authorities had also announced the reopening of select museums, education institutes and training centres. 
Public vigilance can help win Covid-19 battle: DoH chairman
People's vigilance and adherence to preventive measures will help the UAE flatten the Covid-19 curve further, a top health official in Abu Dhabi has said. Abdullah Al Hamed, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Health (DoH), said the government and health authorities were continuing to move towards their goals to eradicate the pandemic. "Each of us has a role to play by remaining vigilant and following preventive measures," Al Hamed said in a video message posted on the Abu Dhabi Media Office's official Twitter handle. "Let us continue to adhere to social distancing, wearing masks and washing our hands. There is a bright future ahead of us and higher goals that we must achieve," he said. Al Hamed praised the achievements of the healthcare sector to combat the pandemic and pledged to continue efforts to protect the health and safety of the Abu Dhabi community.  
Coronavirus face mask rule in UAE: When can you get fined Dh3,000
The UAE Public Prosecution has reminded residents about a Dh3,000 fine for being out in public areas without masks. Taking to social media on Monday, the authority specified the circumstances under which residents can be fined for not wearing a mask: 1. When visiting indoor public spaces or shopping centre 2. When using public transportation 3. When walking around or being in public areas that are crowded 4. When being in private vehicles that have two or more passengers (authorities had previously stated that members of the same family in a private car needn't wear masks). The UAE government had in May stiffened penalties for "reckless and irresponsible" residents flouting Covid-19 guidelines, including increasing the fine for not donning a face mask to Dh3,000.  
Dubai Economy attended to 104,000 calls as Covid-19 peaked
The Dubai Economy attended to 103,860 calls and 27,395 e-mails from the business community and residents during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic. From March to June, the calls - mostly about the precautionary measures in place against the spread of Covid-19 - shot up by 180 per cent and the e-mails by 200 per cent as compared to the same period last year. Hanadi Eid, director of customer happiness department, Dubai Economy, said: "(The high volume of calls) ... was due to the impact of Covid-19 and the subsequent National Disinfection Programme. The closure of most services in the country - except for vital sectors - resulted in many enquiries from customers regarding the procedures to be followed in these circumstances." The authority ensured that its call centre staff was given the latest Covid-19 updates so they could assist callers accordingly.
Parents in UAE prepare kids to practise anti-Covid guidelines at school
With the summer break halfway through, parents are now preparing safety checklists to help their wards get ready for school in September. While some parents juggling work and homeschooling welcome the reopening of schools, others worry about the risks involved with a return to in-person lessons, particularly when there are immunocompromised members in the household. Indian parent Zoya Shaikh is thankful that her seven-year-old daughter is a careful child. "She has made it a habit to sanitise, clean and generally not touch things around. She also knows that she is supposed to cough and sneeze into her elbows. Social distancing now is almost engrained in her but having said that it's going to be difficult when schools start. Kids have been missing their friends and I am sure they would want to hug and play with each other once they meet."


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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