Coronavirus Pandemic

Sheikh Mohamed praises collective effort to combat coronavirus in UAE

Ismail Sebugwaawo /Abu Dhabi Filed on May 22, 2020 | Last updated on May 22, 2020 at 07.14 am
sheikh mohamed bin zayed, abu dhabi, uae, dubai, covid19, coronavirus, stay home


The Abu Dhabi CP held a virtual meeting with frontliners and officials on Thursday.

In a message to citizens and resident of the UAE on Thursday, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, emphasised the importance of following regulations during Ramadan and the Eid Al Fitr festivities that follow.

This came during the fourth episode of (virtual) Majlis Mohamed bin Zayed, which was held today and focused on the progress the UAE has made in its fight against the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

Also read: UAE announces first day of Eid Al Fitr

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, expressed his gratitude and stressed the importance of the collective effort and contribution by all members of the community to overcome this challenge.

He was joined by Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA), and his grandchildren: Sheikha Shamma bint Khalid bin Mohamed Al Nahyan, Sheikh Mohamed bin Nahyan bin Saif Al Nahyan, Sheikha Fatima bint Mohamed Al Nahyan, and Sheikha Fatima bint Theyab bin Mohamed Al Nahyan.

His Highness spoke about the importance of volunteer work and commended community members' efforts to support the country in overcoming the COVID-19 challenge.

His Highness said: "Today, everyone in the world is fighting this battle. However, what distinguishes one country from another is team leaders, members, and volunteers who have made the UAE among the top 10 countries in combating this pandemic."

Sheikh Mohamed also picked up on the insights shared by the expert guests on the importance of following regulations during the holy month of Ramadan and the Eid festivities that follow. He recognised the importance of family during these special times. Yet, he also noted that the recent increase in cases was due to the reluctance of people to practise social distancing.

He added: "Unfortunately, by virtue of tradition, we started seeing an increase in the number of cases. I ask all our residents and citizens, especially during the Eid period and for the remainder of Ramadan, to protect themselves and protect our families and our children."

The episode, titled 'Honoring our Traditions, Valuing our Safety', featured Obaid Al Hassan Al Shamsi, Director-General of the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA), Matar Al Nuaimi, Director-General of the Abu Dhabi Public Health Center and Director of Emergency and Disaster Management Division, Department of Health, and Dr Farida Al Hosani, official spokesperson for the UAE health sector.

The episode also featured heartfelt stories from volunteers and community members, working together on the frontline to combat this unprecedented challenge. The episode will be replayed next Monday.

The CP also promised to meet and hug all of the volunteering teams in the UAE after the pandemic is over.

New lifestyle post-Covid

Dr Farida Al Hosani, official spokesperson for the UAE health sector, spoke extensively on the evolution of the UAE's response to the crisis, from early detection to quick intervention and control. She explained the necessary measures taken by the country to prevent the disease from spreading. Throughout her insightful talk, she explained the indicators that the UAE is tracking daily to understand the pandemic's status better locally.

Al Hosani noted that in the second phase, as the cases increased in countries outside of China, the UAE focused on tracking people arriving in the country from the affected nations. Such measures have increased in parallel to the increase of cases in other countries.

"We then focused on the spread within the local community. The focus here was on reducing the spread of the disease," she said.

"We worked together with many entities, working remotely, distance learning and other measures were put in place to reduce people coming in contact with one another. Across all phases, our main focus was preventive measures, such as physical distancing, wearing face masks, and hand-washing. These are simple yet very important measures in all phases to prevent the disease from spreading."

She also touched on the near future and explained that people would need to adjust to a new lifestyle that will better protect them and their families. "Our main focus remains on preventive measures, such as physical distancing, wearing face masks, and hand-washing. And today, we know that Covid-19 is here to stay for a while, and these healthy habits should be the new lifestyle that we will need to adopt in the coming period."

Failure to follow rules led to increase in cases  

According to the official, recently, the number of cases detected in the country has been increasing due to the high number of tests conducted in the UAE and also because of some people's failure to adhere to the preventive measures.

She added that people who didn't observe social distancing rules have led to the infections among family members and friends. The official cited one case of an extended family that exchanged visits during Ramadan, and 19 family members were infected. They included grandparents, who are now hospitalised and receiving treatment.

"Each member of this family thought that they were safe and didn't come in contact with infected people in the community. But the reality today is that we can all get infected. Observing the rules is crucial to everyone to keep our families safe and prevent the spread of the disease," said Al Hosani adding that life will resume gradually, but the focus should be on prevention.

How UAE's frontliners are battling the virus

Matar Al Nuaimi, gave an overview of the role of the medical leadership and staff, from doctors and nurses, the team at the outpatient clinics, and hospitals, and those working in labs and operating ambulances. He also shared his personal story of contracting coronavirus and the measures he took to protect his family, co-workers, and himself during his ordeal.

Al Nuaimi explained that the most critical step to combat this disease is self-preservation and that in addition to social distancing and measures of self-protection, a healthy lifestyle is vital. "This disease mandates that we are all healthy and have strong immunity. A healthy lifestyle will lead to a healthy and safe community, which will lead our country, in turn, to protect itself from diseases, including Covid-19."

'Everyone in the UAE community has a responsibility'

Obaid Al-Hassan Al Shamsi examined the strategy laid out by the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority, which entails proactive and preemptive measures. The strategy is implemented through coordination on a national level across various sectors to ensure the country's readiness.

He explored the phases of the crisis management strategy and reiterated the importance of the social responsibility of each citizen and resident in overcoming this challenge. "Everyone in the UAE community has a responsibility, whether a citizen or a resident, to protect this country."

The episode also explored the vital role volunteers play in supporting the UAE's efforts in combatting the disease and helping the vulnerable and needy in the community. Several volunteers shared heartfelt stories from their essential work.

The episode featured insights from Chris Nourse, Principal of Al Ain Academy; Abdulla Al Hamli, a Lieutenant in the Abu Dhabi Police; Asma Al Jasmi, Civil Administrator, Abu Dhabi Police; and Tahani Al Boloushi and Rashid Kheer, who are both volunteers.


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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