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Coronavirus news bulletin: Stranded residents to fly back to UAE; Abu Dhabi bans inter-emirate travel; VP lauds remote govt efficiency; New face mask rules in Dubai; Emirates lays off few employees

Ismail Sebugwaawo /Abu Dhabi
ismail@khaleejtimes.com Filed on June 1, 2020
UAE, Dubai, abu dhabi, coronavirus, covid19, sheikh mohammed

(Supplied)

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:

Ban on movement within, outside Abu Dhabi; restrictions in malls, restaurants, beaches eased
Movement in and out of Abu Dhabi as well as between the emirate's regions of Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Al Dhafrah has been banned for a week as authorities continue to fight the spread of Covid-19, it was announced on Sunday. The ban, which comes into effect from Tuesday, June 2, will be in place for a period of one week, the Abu Dhabi Media Office said. The ban is applicable to all residents, including UAE nationals, and only those working in vital sectors and holding special permits are exempt from this movement ban. Abu Dhabi Emergency and Crisis Committee for the Covid-19 Pandemic, in collaboration with Abu Dhabi Police and the Department of Health, who announced the new ban on movement, said exemptions are available by special permit for employees in vital sectors, chronic disease patients visiting hospitals and the transportation of necessary goods.

Special, regular flights to bring stranded UAE residents back
UAE residents who are stranded abroad and holding valid residence visas can fly back to the country from tomorrow (June 1) through scheduled and special repatriation flights being operated by local carriers. The UAE carriers are scheduled to operate flights to around 36 destinations this month. Dubai-based Emirates will be serving nine destinations, while Abu Dhabi-based Etihad will be flying to 17 destinations. Budget carrier flydubai is operating special repatriation flights to 10 countries. Some of the destinations are being served by more than one UAE carrier. However, these flights are subject to change as airlines and authorities in the UAE and other countries are discussing modalities about the procedures due to Covid-19-triggered changes.
 
UAE reports 661 new Covid-19 cases, 386 recoveries, 2 deaths
The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention on Sunday announced 661 new cases of Covid-19 infections, 386 cases of recovery and two deaths. More than 37,000 new Covid-19 tests have also been conducted across the country, the ministry added. The ministry wished a speedy recovery to all patients, calling on the public to abide by the precautionary measures in place and following all necessary medical advice in order to avoid more infections. Thanks to rapid setting up of testing centres across the country and their ease of access, the UAE now leads in mass testing per million people and has conducted more than two million tests. Businesses, public spaces and offices are opening up in the UAE. However, the government has stressed on residents' commitment to precautionary measures to curb the spread of Covid-19.
 
Government worked remotely with efficiency: Sheikh Mohammed
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, affirmed that the UAE will continue to serve all and pursue its efforts to deliver its Centennial Plan 2071 which aims to make the UAE among the best countries in the world. ''The Government has worked remotely with efficiency during the past months and today is completing its works from the field after the return of employees to work,'' said His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid while chairing a virtual meeting of the UAE Cabinet today, on the first day of government employees' return to work from offices. ''We discussed in our meeting the procedures for the return of employees to their offices and the future mechanisms of government work. Health will remain a priority. We have instructed officials to provide all means of safety and prevention and create a healthy environment for the safety of all,'' His Highness added.
 
Ban on movement in Abu Dhabi to ensure mass Covid-19 testing
Mass testing is a key pillar of Abu Dhabi's strategy to contain the spread of Covid-19 through the National Screening Programme, a senior government official has said. Abdulla Al Hamed, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Department of Health (DoH) said on May 31 that with the expansion of the project to include high-density areas, and to ensure that the largest possible number of the emirate's population is reached as quickly as possible, they had to ban the movement between cities and reduce contact as much as possible.

Have your house disinfected for free in Umm Al Quwain
Here is good news for Emirati nationals who want to get their houses disinfected for free in Umm Al Quwain. They just have to give a call to the civil defence department at 067067171 and the rest will be taken care of. The department announced about the innovative initiative on its official Instagram account. A top officer with the UAQ Civil Defence Department said that the move is in line with the ongoing preventive measures to curb Covid-19 pandemic. Col Dr Salem bin Hamdah, director-general of the UAQ Civil Defence Department, said the new drive is part of the national sterilisation programme. "It will take effect from the beginning of June." Emirati nationals just need to call this phone number 067067171, he underlined. "Our well-trained teams will carry out the entire sanitisation operation."
 
Emirates airline lays off a few employees
Dubai-based airline Emirates on Sunday confirmed that it laid off some workers following a thorough review of costs and resources. "We reviewed all possible scenarios in order to sustain our business operations, but have come to the conclusion that we unfortunately have to say goodbye to a few of the wonderful people that worked with us," the airline's spokesperson said in a statement. This decision has been taken in order to save cashflow as the flights mostly remain grounded due to the Covid-19 coronavirus. Citing sources, Reuters reported that Emirates laid off trainee pilots and cabin crew as part of its restructuring. However, the Dubai-based carrier didn't disclose how many employees were affected by this latest decision.
 
Owners to wait outside while pets get examined at Sharjah vet clinics
Veterinary clinics in Sharjah have reopened services after adhering to strict Covid-19 precautionary measures. The clinics, operated by the Sharjah Municipality, were closed temporarily as part of preventive measures taken by the civic body to limit the spread of the pandemic. Dr Amal Al Shamsi, director of the public health department, said that only customers wearing masks and gloves will be allowed at the facilities. "Animal owners will not be allowed inside the examination room and all data will be collected at the reception. The clinics will also be not receiving any stray animals." She added that the vet clinics are equipped with the latest technologies and qualified medical staff. Sheikha Shaza Al Mualla, assistant director-general of the public health sector and central laboratories, said the municipality has put in place all the necessary measures to resume veterinary clinics as per the best standards.
 
New guidelines issued on using face masks in Dubai
Dubai's Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management headed by Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced a set of guidelines on the use of face masks outside the house and in public areas for different age groups. The new guidelines, aimed at ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the community, are based on the recommendations of the Covid-19 Command and Control Centre and a comprehensive review of global best practices. The Committee explained that the new guidelines take into account the exceptional situations of some categories of people including people of determination, children, and those with chronic respiratory conditions. All members of the community must wear face masks outside their homes at all times, the Supreme Committee stressed.
 
Lawyers, prosecutors work with 50% staff in Dubai
With the gradual return to normalcy at all government departments and economic and business sectors in the UAE, the Dubai Public Prosecution has reopened on Sunday with 50 per cent of its staff. Safety protocol was circulated all across the buildings of the public prosecution on screens and also sent by e-mails. The Covid-19 precautionary measures included also comprehensive sterilisation of all the offices and facilities of the headquarters, thermal scanners and sanitisers were in place and everybody was asked to wear face masks and gloves. Prosecuting procedures were, however, going on nonstop during the global pandemic. The business was as usual also for law firms as they have reopened their offices with 50 per cent capacity.

Dubai Health Authority to welcome customers back to its facilities
The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has begun implementing a new plan to gradually welcome customers back to its hospitals and health centres across its range of medical specialities, while simultaneously providing comprehensive care to Covid-19 patients. According to the plan, the Authority will resume non-urgent healthcare services which were temporarily suspended to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Dr Younis Kazim, CEO of the Dubai Healthcare Corporation at DHA, said that since the beginning of the pandemic, the Authority has provided Covid-19 patients with comprehensive and quality medical and isolation services. He stressed that the Authority is committed to continue providing the highest standard of care across its facilities dedicated to Covid-19 cases.
Meraas on Sunday launched a new contactless pick-up service that will keep customers connected to their local retailers and restaurants across City Walk, La Mer and The Beach in a safe and convenient way.
 
Now, shop at Dubai hotspots without leaving your car
The 'Curbside Pickup' service enables customers to collect orders from their favourite stores with a reduced wait time, through a simple, contactless three-step process:

Order-Place an order with the store of choice via one of their points of purchase (website, phone call, or the brand's app). A store representative will contact the customer with their order, the time their order will be ready for collection, and from which location.
Arrive-When customers arrive at the agreed location, they contact the store via their preferred contact method - phone call, WhatsApp, text message, etc. - with details of the make, colour and registration of their vehicle.

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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