Coronavirus news bulletin: 473 new cases reported; UAE takes Covid tests to new heights; Cabinet okays grace period for visa renewal
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:
The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention on Friday reported 473 new cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, along with 399 recoveries. The new cases were identified through additional 47,000 tests. MoHAP also confirmed deaths of two more patients. The total number of infections as of July 10 stands at 54,050, whilie total recoveries stand at 43,969. Death toll rises to 330.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has met with His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. The meeting tackled a number of issues related to the UAE's development and the country's aim to enhance its stature and boost its gains in light of the wise leadership of the President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The meeting also discussed the successful efforts exerted by the country to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and ways to limit its impact and repercussions in all fields.
UAE takes Covid tests to new heights
While Covid-19 is raging across the world with crossing the 12 million mark, the UAE is showing the way in the fight against the virus through its proactive steps. 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 around four million Covid-19 tests in record time. Looking to perform another two million more tests in next two months, the country is on its way to achieving yet another milestone.
With the UAE returning to normalcy and the wheels of the economy gathering speed, normal fees and fines will be charged for residency, visas, entry permits and identity cards from July 12, the UAE Cabinet said on Friday. However, a three-month 'grace period' has been granted to Emiratis, GCC citizens and expat residents in the country to renew their visas and IDs. This will cover residency visas that have expired as of March 1, 2020. Those stranded outside the country will be granted a month's time to get their visas, documents and IDs in order once they arrive on special or other commercial flights. No fines will be levied during this period. Expatriates who have stayed outside the country for more than six months will also be granted a grace period to return to the country and complete procedures for visa renewal. This grace period will be announced once the date for reopening of the airspace between the UAE and the respective countries is announced, and the exemption period will be determined by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship.
Residents in Abu Dhabi region suffering from chronic illnesses can avail of free medication, diagnostic tests and consultancy sessions for three months. The initiative comes as part of the Authority of Social Contribution's (Ma'an) 'Together We Are Good' programme, in cooperation with the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi and in partnership with VPS Healthcare to assist residents affected by the impact of Covid-19. It supports even those who are not covered by medical insurance of National Health Insurance Company (Daman). Earlier, a programme by Ma'an offered support to only those holding Daman basic policies. But now, residents with other valid health insurances, who have reached their existing medical coverage limits, will also be benefited.
All private sector healthcare facilities in Abu Dhabi were declared free of Covid-19 cases on Friday. This marks a major step in the Capital's road to recovery from the pandemic. A total of 17 hospitals - nine under VPS Healthcare, seven NMC Healthcare and Ain Al Khaleej Hospital - have all discharged their last patients. However, those suffering from any respiratory symptoms have been asked to visit specialised hospitals designated for Covid-19 cases in Sheikh Khalifa Medical City and Al Ain Hospital. Last month, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, Healthpoint and Imperial College London Diabetes Centre, Mediclinic hospitals in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain said they were free of coronavirus cases.
Family of medical frontliners share stories of support, fear
Families of frontline doctors in the UAE have been going through immense stress, family isolation and the fear of getting infected and losing their loved ones as they go out every day to treat Covid-19 patients. Khaleej Times speaks to a few of them to find what they did to cope with the situation.
More than 350 Indians availed services of Air India Express ticketing office that has temporarily moved operations to India Social and Cultural Centre (ISC) in Al Mina, Abu Dhabi, on Friday. Arabian Travel Agency, the general sales agent for Air India Express, had difficulty in managing a large crowd at its office on Electra Street after direct sale of tickets for the Vande Bharat Mission started from June 28. Also, the phase four tickets between July 15 and 31 went up on sale from 2pm on Friday. Agency staff were assigned to handle documents and get details from customers as per their turn. Six ticketing counters are opened to serve customers.
Sleep over it for simple and sustainable ideas to tackle Covid-19. In India, they call it jugaad (a cheap or frugal solution to what life throws at you). One such idea led to the creation of disposable cardboard beds for patients that can be recycled. The concept is not only helping India in its fight against the deadly virus but is also making its way into the UAE and other countries. Realising that there was an acute shortage of beds across India at hospitals as well as quarantine centres, Mumbai resident Rhea Shah, an architect from Harvard, came up with the idea of making low-cost compact cardboard disposable beds that has now helped thousands of patients across India. Around 3,000 of these 100 per cent recyclable beds have also landed in the UAE and are awaiting the final approvals from authorities before they can be used here.
A housekeeping staff at a Covid testing laboratory in Ajman has invented foot paddle and automated sanitiser dispensers. Indian expatriate Hamsa, 43, works as a cleaner at the central laboratory of Thumbay Labs (run by the Thumbay Group) in Ajman, where samples are tested for Covid-19. Noticing that all sanitiser dispensers in the laboratories were push dispensers, Hamsa was keen on finding a way where frontliners could avoid touching the sanitiser bottle/ dispenser to minimise infection. A science enthusiast who dropped out of school after grade 10 as his family couldn't afford education, Hamsa initially made a foot-pedal operated sanitiser dispenser, where one simply had to press a paddle attached to a dispenser to use it.
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