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Coronavirus news bulletin from UAE: India discuss joint efforts to combat Covid; 23 passengers in limbo at airports; CCTV network to catch violators

Ismail Sebugwaawo /Abu Dhabi
ismail@khaleejtimes.com Filed on August 18, 2020
india, uae, covid-19, coronavirus, sheikh abdullah

(Twitter)

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 229 Covid-19 cases, 100 recoveries, no deaths
The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention on Monday reported 229 cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, along with 100 recoveries. No deaths were reported. More than 71,000 new Covid-19 tests have been carried out in the country, taking the total to nearly six million tests. In a development late last night, the short-term amnesty for people who have been living illegally in the UAE, after their visas expired before March 1, has been extended for a period of three months, authorities announced. State news agency WAM has quoted Major General Saeed Rakan Al Rashidi, Director General of the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (FAIC) saying that the scheme, which began on May 18, and was to end on August 18, will now run until November 17.
 
UAE and India discuss joint efforts to combat Covid-19, furthering relations
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, on Monday chaired the 13th meeting of the 'UAE-India Joint Committee', which was held through video conference. Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs of India, chaired the Indian side. Sheikh Abdullah began his speech by extending sincere condolences to the Government and people of India for the unfortunate loss of lives in the tragic Air India Express plane crash earlier this month, praying to Allah the Almighty to rest their souls rest in peace and saying May God grant their families patience and strength. "On behalf of the UAE Government and people, I would also like to express the deepest solidarity with the grieved families of the victims who passed away because of the recent flooding and Covid-19 infections in India, wishing all those infected a speedy recovery," he added.
 
23 passengers in limbo at Abu Dhabi, Sharjah airports over travel clearances
At least 23 passengers who recently arrived from India are reportedly stranded at the airports of Abu Dhabi and Sharjah because of some 'confusion' about pre-travel approvals, Khaleej Times has learnt. Five passengers, who landed in Abu Dhabi on an Etihad Airways flight on Saturday, and some 18 travellers who arrived in Sharjah on board Air Arabia early Monday morning said they were "not being allowed to enter the country". Travel agents who issued their tickets told Khaleej Times that it is "highly likely that they will have to return to India". The Abu Dhabi flight was from the south Indian state of Kerala, while the other took off from Lucknow. The passengers and travel agents suspect that they were not allowed to exit the airports because they did not receive a 'green OK to travel' status from the ICA when their documents were verified on the www.uaeentry.ica.gov.ae website.
 
CCTV network to catch shoppers violating Covid-19 rules in Abu Dhabi
A remote emergency control center using CCTV cameras has been rolled out in Abu Dhabi to monitor businesses and shoppers violating Covid-19 guidelines, including failure to maintain social distancing. The Department of Economic Development - Abu Dhabi has announced that the Smart Emergency and Control Room has been launched for remote inspection and monitoring of economic establishments in cooperation with the Monitoring and Control Center in order to ensure that all stores and shoppers in different markets within the capital are implementing and following all Covid-19 rules and regulations issued by ADDED for conducting business. "The Control Center is equipped with a smart live camera system operated 24/7 by our dedicated inspection teams to facilitate the monitoring process and increase the efficiency of response to consumer complaints as well as activating the role of the field inspector," said  Rashed Abdul Karim Al Balooshi, Undersecretary, ADDED.
 
Abu Dhabi issues Covid-19 guidelines to reopen cinemas in malls
The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, ADDED, has issued a new circular on Monday allowing owners of cinemas inside shopping malls across Abu Dhabi to resume operations and open their doors to the public provided they comply to the precautionary measures being implemented to curb the spread of coronavirus, Covid-19. In a statement issued today by the ADDED, the circular directs cinema owners to resume their activities at only 30 per cent capacity of their halls. It also directs them to continuously sanitise and clean all their service facilities and common areas where food and beverage products are sold. The move was made in coordination with the Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Committee for Covid-19 pandemic.
 
Long queues at rapid Covid-19 test centre outside Dubai's Al Ahli football club
Passengers in need of the mandatory pre-travel rapid Covid-19 testing prior to their departure from Dubai International Airport have been spotted in a long queue outside the screening venue. They said they have had to wait for hours for their turn. Dubai Airport announced on August 12 that the venue for pre-travel Covid-19 rapid testing would be shifted to the Shabab Al Ahli Football Club from the airport's departure terminal, starting last Sunday. The rapid testing is predominantly for passengers on repatriation flights to India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. On Sunday and Monday, many passengers were seen holding their bags waiting to complete their testing.  
 
Covid-19 negative test report needed to depart from these UAE airports
Passengers departing from the Abu Dhabi International Airport and Sharjah International Airport must produce a Covid-19 negative test result prior to their departure, Khaleej Times has learnt. Sharjah Airport has sent a notification to its travel partners, a copy of which Khaleej Times has seen, that said, "As per the directives received from UAE Ministry of Health, with immediate effect, all passengers departing from Sharjah Airport are required to have Covid-19 negative PCR test with a validity of not more than 48 hours from the time of departure." It added, "Airlines are required to collect the negative PCR test report at the check-in counter." Khaleej Times made several calls to the Sharjah Airport to verify the notice, and call centre agents confirmed the test has now been made mandatory. The notice has been issued to all airlines, according to the call centre official.
 
Public buses in Abu Dhabi back to normal schedule
Public bus services will resume operations according to their normal schedule, the Integrated Transport Centre (ITC) of the Department of Municipalities and Transport has announced on Monday. Community bus services will also be resumed in Musaffah and Mohammed Bin Zayed City including services to Abu Dhabi International Airport. All community bus services inside Musaffah will be operating as paid services under an integrated fare system with 328 trips a day. Al Ruwais local and regional bus network will also be activated. ITC will continue to undertake the necessary precautionary measures to avoid the spread of Covid-19.

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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