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Coronavirus news bulletin from UAE: Dubai to open for business; over 2m Covid-19 tests conducted; Saudi to end curfew; Modi calls Sheikh Mohamed

Ismail Sebugwaawo /Abu Dhabi
ismail@khaleejtimes.com Filed on May 26, 2020
uae, covid-19, coronavirus, saudi arabia, dubai, eid al fitr

(Reuters file)

A round-up of major developments related to Covid-19 across the country.

Here's a round-up of all the latest developments you need to be aware of:

UAE reports 822 new Covid-19 cases, 601 recoveries

UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention announced 822 new cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, as well as 601 recoveries during a press briefing where Abdul Rahman Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention, and Dr. Amna Al Shamsi, UAE Government spokesperson, gave an update on the latest developments and steps taken to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the country. The total number of cases in the UAE now stands at 30,307 (active cases: 14,402) while the number of total recoveries is 15,657. Authorities announced 3 deaths in the country as a result of the disease, taking the total number of deaths to 248. The minister, Abdul Rahman Al Owais, also announced that the UAE had conducted an additional 41,000 tests today, talking the total number of tests in the country to 2,044,493.

Dubai to resume business activity from 6am to 11pm from May 27

Dubai has announced bold steps to reopen business activities starting Wednesday, it was announced on Monday. Business activities will resume in the emirate from 6am to 11pm and there will be no restrictions on movement between 6am and 11pm. Cinemas, gyms, retail stores, clinics, sports academics and recreational venues will open but by following social distancing rules. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, announced the gradual reopening of business activities in Dubai from the fourth day of the Eid Al Fitr during a remote meeting of Dubai's Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management. The virtual meeting was also attended by Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai; Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the committee; and other committee members.

UAE completes 2 million Covid-19 tests

The number of Covid-19 tests conducted across the UAE has crossed two million, a top UAE health official has announced. During the regular virtual Press briefing on Monday, AbdulRahman Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention, revealed that over 2.04 million tests have been conducted in the country. The minister attributed the success in conducting such a large number of tests to the tireless efforts of dedicated medical teams. "We are adopting a proactive approach to curb the spread of the virus in the country. We are now at a critical juncture that requires individual responsibility," he said, adding that it requires cooperation from everyone to continue with the precautionary measures.

Cops grant two Emirati girls' wish on Eid

Two Emirati girls in Ajman had a simple Eid wish: To finally see the outdoors after being stuck at home for more than three months. And the emirate's police happily agreed -so off the kids went on a sightseeing tour of the city, on board the officers' patrol car. The Ajman Police received the request from the mother of the girls, aged 11 and 12. She said her daughters badly wanted to step out after months of staying home, but they never gave her a hard time. "They were very obedient and they understood how serious the Covid-19 situation is," the mother told the police via Instagram. They knew that movement restrictions are necessary to fight the virus and sterilise the streets nationwide. Upon learning about the girls' wish, the media and public relations department of the police called the mother and promptly organised a tour.

Mohamed bin Zayed, Indian PM review international developments

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, on Monday received a call from the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, regarding the prospect of further advancing the friendly relations between the two countries. The Indian leader conveyed Eid Al Fitr greetings to Sheikh Mohamed and wished the UAE more development and prosperity. Sheikh Mohamed thanked Mr Modi for the good gesture, wishing continued progress for the people of India. The conversation covered an array of regional and international developments, primarily the global fight against Covid-19 and ways of containing the fallout of the pandemic on all fronts.

Dubai businesses set to reopen from May 27

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, announced the gradual reopening of business activities in Dubai from the fourth day of the Eid Al Fitr during a remote meeting of Dubai's Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management. "We urge all concerned entities in Dubai to intensify awareness efforts and ensure that everyone, at organisational and individual levels, adheres to the precautionary measures and guidelines to protect the well-being of our society" he said in a tweet on his official account.

Cinemas, gyms, retail stores, clinics and recreational venues will open but by following social-distancing rules. 1-Retail stores and wholesale outlets. 2-Airport to facilitate transit passengers and travellers to other destinations. 3-Clinics, including ENT departments. 4-Training institutes and treatment centers for children. 5-Sports academies, indoor gyms, and fitness and health clubs. 6-Cinemas, maintaining social distancing and sterilisation. 7-Recreational venues like Dubai Mall Ice Rink and Dolphinarium. 8-Government services centres.

Over 150 social workers sacrifice celebrations to help needy families

For 150 volunteers fighting the Covid-19 pandemic in the UAE, Eid Al Fitr was just another 'day at work'. In collaboration with local authorities including the Dubai Police and the Dubai Health Authority, the volunteers spent the first day of Eid running awareness camps and providing food to needy families in Al Quoz, Jebel Ali, DIP and Sonapur. However, in a bid to make the day special for the volunteers who have spent the last two months serving those in communities such as Naif, Al Ras and Al Warsan localities in Dubai, the group leaders provided them with special prizes and tokens of appreciation from private companies in the UAE. On the first day of Eid, the men were provided with specially- designed blue kandouras, hot meal packets and sports shoes provided by Skechers to name a few. The hot meals for the volunteers were sponsored by Kozhikode Star Restaurant in Qusais.

Dubai Tourism unveils post-pandemic strategies

Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) held a virtual meeting with key aviation and hospitality partners on Monday to discuss current and post-pandemic strategies and joint initiatives aimed at ensuring the tourism industry's gradual return to normality. The meeting also discussed global efforts to minimise the transmission of Covid-19 and precautionary measures deployed to safeguard the health of communities across the UAE.

Abu Dhabi uses artificial intelligence to predict, prevent Covid-19 spread

The Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha) is leveraging artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning capabilities and data to predict and plan response against the Covid-19 pandemic. Seha is using the impact assessment tool (IAT) of the UK-based health analytics firm Draper and Dash. George Kapitelli, chief financial officer, Seha Group, said the IAT helps provide insights into trends and enable healthcare providers to prepare a better response strategy. "Covid-19 is an unprecedented global healthcare challenge. I am not sure that we can ever be totally ready, but we are certainly more prepared thanks to the insights from the Draper and Dash IAT. We are using this tool to support our planning, leading to increased bed capacity at different levels."

Jobseekers remain optimistic, trying to reskill themselves

Companies in select industries in the UAE continue to hire despite the Covid-19 situation. That's the opinion of certain top headhunters and recruiters across the country who believe that in spite of layoffs in certain sectors, there are other industries which are benefitting from unique strengths and opportunities. Gauging employer sentiment, recruitment agencies across the country say there is reason to be optimistic. Aws Ismail, general manager of Marc Ellis, UAE, said: "There is a major focus on technology improvement for many companies, especially after the pandemic required companies to get their operations to be prepared for anything like this again, so they are heavily hiring for talent in technology." It's said the boom in online shopping has supported the expansion of the courier pick-up and delivery services industry as well.

336 quarantined kids in Dubai receive Eid gifts

Bringing Eid Al Fitr joy to Dubai kids affected by the pandemic, the health ministry distributed gifts to 336 children who were staying in its quarantine buildings. The Ministry of Health and Prevention (Mohap) partnered with Dar Al Ber Society to spread happiness among the youth as part of an initiative called 'Eid joy . we'll never forget you'. Dr Aisha Suhail, director of the primary health care department, said: "The initiative, which is launched by Mohap's Maternal and Child Health section, reflects the meanings of social and humanitarian responsibility and it aims to promote the values of giving and social solidarity.' The ministry also seeks to alleviate any psychological burden they may be experiencing during their stay in quarantine, Dr Suhail added.

Kerala state exams to be held in UAE from May 26

For the first time since the closure of educational institutions in the UAE, the students who follow Kerala state syllabus will be back to school as exams for Class 10 to 12 will start on May 26. The Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) exams for Class 10 and Higher Secondary Education (HSE) for Class 12 will last till Saturday. As many as 603 students from nine schools will appear for Class 10 exams while 490 and 491 students from eight schools will appear for Class 11 and 12 exams. The Model School Abu Dhabi has the most number of students taking exams, principal Abdul Kader V.V. said. "We have 166 students for Class 10 exams, 87 students for Class 11 and 84 for Class 12. We are well-prepared to conduct the exams."

Hotels in Abu Dhabi prepare to reopen facilities

The Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) has shared detailed guidelines with the emirate's hotels in preparation for granting approvals to reopen the establishments' restaurants, lounges, bars, beaches, pools and gyms. Having closed due to health and safety precautionary measures imposed to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus, hotels will now be able to reopen their facilities and resume trading as soon as approval is granted from DCT Abu Dhabi. To obtain approval, the hotels must complete all the measures which are outlined in the document which DCT Abu Dhabi has compiled. The guidelines outline 'readiness assurance requirements' that cover general measurements, social distancing rules, crowd control measures and rules for returning employees in order to resume trading safely.

ICAI Abu Dhabi chapter conducts Covid-19 relief campaign

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India Abu Dhabi Chapter in collaboration with various Indian Social Organizations, distributed food kits to those affected by the Covid-19 crisis. The first lot of food packs were distributed in Abu Dhabi and surrounding areas through Indian People Forum, Maharashtra Mandal, KMCC, Islamic Centre, Islahi Centre and Jangir Marwari Samaj. In the first phase of relief campaign held in Abu Dhabi, Chapter Chairman CA Neeraj Ritolia, Vice Chairman CA John George, General Secretary CA Krishnan NV, Treasurer CA Rohit Dayma, and other Committee members CA Anand Gupta, CA Muhammed Shafeek, CA Anu Thomas and CA Shafeekh Neelayil lead the food kit distribution. The members of the Chapter also joined to support this initiative.

Women-run businesses now join war on Covid-19

Family-owned small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Abu Dhabi are manufacturing thousands of cloth masks to help in the UAE's fight against coronavirus. These SMEs led by women receive logistical assistance from the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED). "The efforts made by the government encouraged me to produce this critical product in the required timeframe as we are part of the country's frontline," said Fatima Mohamed of Al Merriah Services, praising the support offered by the government.

ERC sent 770 tonnes of food aid to Yemen during Ramadan

On the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, with the monitoring of Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in Al Dhafra Region and Chairman of the Emirates Red Crescent (ERC), the ERC distributed 770.4 tonnes of food aid to the residents of Hadramaut Governorate, Yemen, during Ramadan. The ERC intensified its relief and humanitarian efforts to help residents under the framework of an urgent humanitarian plan to aid families directly affected by the economic damage caused by the coronavirus outbreak. They distributed a total of 18,000 food parcels benefiting 90,000 people. The aid included 2,500 food parcels weighing 107 tonnes to 12,500 people in the districts of Adh Dhlia'ah and Dawan, as well as 1,400 food parcels in Hajr District weighing 5,992 tonnes, benefiting 7,000 people.

Ismail Sebugwaawo


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