Coronavirus news bulletin: Emirates asks crew to take unpaid leave; UAE detains 2 over death rumours; two types of tests for Abu Dhabi entry

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uae , dubai, abu dhabi, covid-19, cases, PCR, school

Abu Dhabi - A round-up of major developments related to Covid-19 across the country.


Ismail Sebugwaawo

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Published: Wed 26 Aug 2020, 10:16 AM

Last updated: Wed 26 Aug 2020, 12:22 PM

Here's a round-up of all the latest Covid-19 developments you need to know:
UAE reports 339 Covid-19 cases, 172 recoveries, 1 death
The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention on Tuesday reported 339 cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, along with 172 recoveries. One death was also reported. More than 69,000 new Covid-19 tests have been carried out, the ministry added. The UAE could be at risk of a second wave of the Covid-19 outbreak if residents do not adhere to the strict precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the virus, a top official has warned. "The pandemic has not ended. If UAE residents do not adhere to preventive measures, we will be on the verge of a second outbreak," Obaid Al Hussan Al Shamsi, director-general of the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority, said on Sunday in an interview on Abu Dhabi TV.
UAE to welcome over 1 million students back to school with best safety standards: Sheikh Mohammed
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is looking forward to a "safe start" to the school year as over a million students resume classes from August 30. This came as he met ministers on Tuesday to review the preparations for the new academic term. "The UAE is well aware of the importance of smart learning as it invested earlier in the digital infrastructure. Distance learning will be an integral part of the education system ... This is the future." He said ensuring a safe and secure education environment is a "joint responsibility" between the school and students' guardians.  
Dh1b raised as UAE community steps up to help the Covid-hit
A community drive launched in Abu Dhabi amid Covid-19 has helped raise over Dh1 billion to help those affected by the pandemic. The Authority of Social Contribution's (Ma'an) 'Together We Are Good' campaign helped raise Dh438 million in funds and over Dh600 million in-kind within 100 days. It saw over 30,000 contributions that helped more than 400,000 people across Abu Dhabi. The first-of-its-kind programme focussed on bringing the community together to help those hit by the crisis. The funds have been used towards providing medical and educational support as well as food supplies and basic needs. Additionally, thousands of people pledged their time as volunteers, changing the paradigm of social support programmes and setting a new standard of community response to future challenges.
2 detained in UAE for spreading rumours on Covid-19 deaths
An investigation has been launched following a report that was aired on a UAE television channel about members of a family supposedly dying of Covid-19. The Public Prosecution, in a briefing on Tuesday, said that the report was baseless. "The incident that was broadcast on Abu Dhabi Sports Channel is false and fabricated, the family does not exist and the story is completely fictitious made up," the prosecution said. Two accused working for the channel have been taken into preventive detention, it added. "We are seeking a prosecution and are currently investigating, in order to clarify the situation and elements of what was published and the real motives behind the crime, the entities involved and people behind it," it added.
10% increase in UAE's active Covid-19 cases in August
The UAE has witnessed a 10 per cent increase in the number of Covid-19 cases since the beginning of August, taking the percentage of active cases in the past two weeks from 9.5 per cent to 12 per cent, Dr Omar Al Hammadi, the official spokesman for the UAE government, announced on Tuesday. However, the percentage of deaths caused by the pandemic remains at 0.5 per cent of the total cases, which is largely thanks to the healthcare and advanced treatment protocol that the UAE provides for those infected, added Dr Hammadi. He explained, "There are indicators we are on the right track that reflect the strength and efficiently of the medical system, including detecting positive cases at an early stage." He also said the 'Commit To Win' campaign was enjoying success thanks to contributions made by all members of the community, including citizens and residents.
Two types of Covid-19 tests approved to enter Abu Dhabi
With the number of Covid-19 cases increasing, the local authorities have intensified precautionary measures to contain the spread of the pandemic. The Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee, in cooperation with the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi, approved two sets of tests for people to enter Abu Dhabi from Thursday (August 27). "Entry will be allowed within 48 hours of receiving a negative PCR test result, or with a negative DPI laser test result accompanied by a negative PCR test result received within six days," the Abu Dhabi Government Media Office tweeted on Tuesday. The committee noted that the same type of test cannot be taken twice in a row within six days. So far, people had to either show a negative PCR test result within 48 hours from receiving the result or DPI laser test taken at the border.
Sharjah approves resumption of government activities
Under the directives of Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah and Chairman of Sharjah Executive Council, the Sharjah Executive Council (SEC)  on Tuesday approved the resumption of the work of exhibitions and conferences that are held under the umbrella, supervision and management of governmental institutions and sectors in Sharjah starting from early September 2020. This comes within the framework of the gradual return of exhibitions and conferences in the emirate, while continuing to work with the precautionary measures currently applied in various public and private facilities, establishments and areas in various parts of Sharjah.
100% e-learning in Sharjah schools for first 2 weeks
Schools in Sharjah will implement 100 per cent e-learning for students for the first two weeks of the new academic term. In-person classes are set to begin across the country on August 30. In a circular sent to schools, the Sharjah Private Education Authority (SPEA) said online-only learning will apply till September 10. "This decision is in the interest of the safety of students and the educational staff, guaranteeing the success of the new academic year," it stated. The authority tweeted on Tuesday: "The situation is being continuously monitored and we will keep sharing the updates." Educators in Sharjah have welcomed the decision, saying it will give them time to ensure that all students are Covid-negative.
Covid-19 tests not mandatory for Dubai students
Covid-19 tests are not mandatory for students who are returning to schools in Dubai on August 30, the emirate's education regulator confirmed on Tuesday. In a statement, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) said: "As we look forward to many students returning to schools next week, we would like to confirm that Covid-19 PCR testing is not mandatory for students." All teachers, however, are set to be screened for the coronavirus by the end of this week, the authority said. "All school staff members are required to carry out a Covid-19 PCR test prior to school re-opening for the new academic year/term. Staff who have carried out a Covid-19 test in Dubai recently and have a copy of the results will not be required to re-take the test," according to a recent circular sent to schools.
37,000 educators in UAE learn the secret to teaching hybrid classes
Nearly 37,000 teachers, school principals and administrative staff have been learning teaching techniques that would work best within a hybrid learning environment. They have started attending a virtual programme that involved a lot of live demonstrations and experiments. The initiative for public and private schools under the Ministry of Education (MoE) is part of the Specialised Training Week and the Sixth Arab Gulf Teachers Forum, which kicked off on Monday. Lessons are conducted on Mondays and Tuesdays. More than 33,000 teachers, 2,000 school leaders, and 2,000 support staff members are participating in the training. The programme initially covered public schools but, this year, it was expanded to include those in private schools.
Emirates asks crew members to take more unpaid leave
Dubai-based airline Emirates has offered voluntary unpaid leave to its cabin crew as carriers around the world struggle to cope with the impact of coronavirus pandemic on the air travel industry through different cost-cutting measures. "We can confirm that we had offered cabin crew the opportunity to apply for voluntary unpaid leave. We will not be providing figures on employee take-up," an Emirates spokesperson said in a statement to Khaleej Times. Quoting an internal memo, Reuters reported earlier that the carrier's crew was told that they can take unpaid leave between one and three months, starting from September 1 to November 30.  

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