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Coronavirus news bulletin: UAE to conduct over 2 million coronavirus tests in 2 months; 528 new cases reported; Dubai rolls out red carpet for tourists

ismail@khaleejtimes.com Filed on July 7, 2020
UAE coronavirus , Wuhan, Covid-19, China, warning, travel, Coronavirus outbreak, lockdown, pandemic, Combating coronavirus

(File photo)

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 to conduct over 2 million coronavirus tests in 2 months

The UAE is planning to conduct over two million Covid-19 tests in the next two months, a top official has said. The tests will target workers in the services and government sectors. It will cover public transportation and taxi drivers, workers in hotels and malls, as well as government employees. The daily number of cases has "slightly increased" in the last few days, said Dr Amna Al Dahhak Al Shamsi, spokesperson for the UAE Government. This increase is a "source of worry" and "reflects the reckless behaviour of some residents in not complying with safety precautions". The official was referring to precautionary measures like mandatory use of masks and good hand hygiene. Violators of precautionary measures will be penalised, she warned. The official called on all residents to adhere to the UAE's #WeAreAllResponsible call.

UAE reports 528 new Covid-19 cases, 424 recoveries

The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention on Monday reported 528 new cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, along with 424 recoveries and one death. Today's announcement takes the total number of cases to 52,068, while recoveries stand at 40,721. The death toll rises to 324. The new cases were identified through additional 28,000 tests. With rigorous and mass testing, the UAE has carried out more than 3.6 million Covid-19 tests in record time and is leading the way in global rankings for coronavirus screening. To further improve testing, early detection and timely treatment, it was announced yesterday that Sharjah will be extending its free Covid-19 screening to all residential areas in the emirate. The screening programme, organised by the Ministry of Health and Prevention in coordination with the Sharjah Police, started in Al Nahda on Sunday.

Dubai rolls out red carpet for tourists from today

After a three-month break, Dubai rolls out the red carpet for tourists starting today. On March 24, Dubai authorities closed the air space as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of Covid-19. As global tourists return to the shopping paradise of the world, the emirate's iconic landmarks, glitzy malls, hotels and amusement parks and leisure spots have put all hands on deck to ensure visitors feel safe and at home. Tourists and visitors arriving in Dubai will get a special stamp on their passports that reads 'A warm welcome to your second home'. The General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs has enforced high safety standards at all Dubai airports, Dubai Media Office said. Dubai Tourism has assured visitors that comprehensive safety measures have been put in place across the city to prevent the transmission of Covid-19.

WhatsApp number launched in Dubai to help women beat Covid blues

A mental health chat-line launched in Dubai on Monday will help women overcome challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. 'ReacHer' offers consultation services for women to "enhance" their "contributions across familial, social and economic roles", the Government of Dubai Media Office said. Women can get in touch with mental health practitioners via WhatsApp on 050-4068222. Sessions can then progress to telephone or video-conference calls if deemed necessary. "All inquiries, conversations and identities involved in any interaction with practitioners will abide by strict confidentiality clauses to ensure women's complete privacy," the media office said. Launched by Al Manal Humanitarian Initiative, the initiative will be carried out in partnership with the Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC). A number of psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists will be available on the ReacHer platform.

Now, Dubai travellers can get Covid-19 tests done at home

Travellers flying out of Dubai can now get screened for Covid-19 at home or any other location in the emirate, thanks to a new initiative. UAE authorities announced last week that citizens and residents are required to take a Covid-19 test before travelling abroad. A negative result, which is valid only within 48 hours, must be presented. To help travellers with this flight check-in requirement, DUBZ - dnata's baggage technology and logistics company - introduced the Covid-19 screening service, which can provide a medical certificate within 24 to 48 hours of testing. When a test is booked, a team of medical professionals will visit a customer and perform the swab test at his/her convenience. Samples are then tested in a laboratory and the results are shared with customers digitally. The Covid testing services are delivered by healthcare provider Mediclinic.

Abu Dhabi 'Safe Zone' now in place for UFC Fight Island, 11km stretch sealed

The Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi, DCT Abu Dhabi, has announced the completion of works of the 'safe zone' for UFC Fight Island, with an 11km stretch of Abu Dhabi's Yas Island locked off to the public as a safety precaution for international guests and the Abu Dhabi community. The safe zone on Yas Island will be in place for the entirety of UFC Fight Island, which will run from July 11 to 26, and will house more than 2,500 people for four events including one Pay Per View "UFC 251", and three ESPN "Fight Nights". The zone represents an innovative approach to ensuring the safe return of UFC to Abu Dhabi, and also paves the way for further high-profile events heading for UAE shores later in the year. All bouts will take place at Flash Forum, a multi-purpose indoor venue which has been adapted to suit UFC's needs, whilst adhering to the country's precautionary measures.

How to survive an Indian repatriation flight during pandemic

After spending five-and-a-half-years in the UAE, wife of an Indian diplomat, Vandana Srivastav, and her children Syona and Kushagra Srivastav, were faced with the daunting task of returning to India. Her husband Rahul Srivastav, consul visa at the Consulate General of India in Dubai completed his term a few months ago. A legal and business consultant, Vandana said she was supposed to return to Delhi several months ago, but the ongoing pandemic delayed her departure considerably. Finally, on June 22, Vandana and her kids flew back to India on a Vande Bharat Mission repatriation flight. Since travelling during this time was an extraordinary feat, Vandana chronicled her journey on social media to educate and support other travellers on what they can do to be safe pre-departure, in-flight, and upon reaching their destination.

Schools in Dubai use break to roll out Covid-19 safety measures

From putting up signages, installing sanitisers/ hand washing stations to installing thermal screening camera, schools are doing all it takes to welcome pupils on campus "safely" in September. Dubai's education regulator Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) on Sunday released a set of health and safety guidelines for schools to follow when they reopen. The 118-point circular titled 'Protocols for the Reopening of Private Schools in Dubai' included steps such as wearing masks by all students aged six years and above, maintaining a 1.5-metre distance in classrooms and no class rotations among others. Almost 300,000 pupils are set to return to 209 private schools in Dubai in September after schools closed in March to contain the spread of Covid-19. Annie Mathew, principal at the Gulf Model School, Dubai, said that flexibility and accommodation are the key elements

All safety checks done: Dubai tourist hotspots ready for visitors

From popular landmarks to hotels and leisure spots, Dubai has put all hands on deck to roll out the red carpet for tourists who will be arriving in the emirate from today, July 7. Top-draw destinations around the city have outlined their preparations to receive in-bound visitors. Working closely with key executives from the aviation, travel and hospitality sectors, Dubai Tourism has assured global travellers that comprehensive safety measures have been put in place to prevent the transmission of Covid-19. The emirate is not only a 'must-visit destination' but one that boasts world-class health and safety standards. The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) gave the emirate the Safe Travel stamp last week, validating the stringent hygiene and safety protocols the city has put in place in preparation for tourists.

Ismail Sebugwaawo


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