Coronavirus news bulletin from UAE: 289 new cases reported; prayer rooms in malls to reopen; new safety stamp for hotels, restaurants
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 reports 289 new Covid-19 cases, 469 recoveries, 1 death
The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention on Saturday reported 289 cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, along with 469 recoveries. The new cases were detected through additional 46,000 tests. MoHAP also reported one new death today, taking the tally to 338. The total number of active cases as on July 18 stands at 7,456, while total recoveries are 48,917. In a statement, the ministry affirmed its aim to continue expanding the scope of testing nationwide to facilitate the early detection of coronavirus cases and carry out the necessary treatment. The UAE is turning the tide against the coronavirus with active cases at 7,637 recorded yesterday, down 55 per cent from their peak of 17,173 registered on June 4, 2020.
Prayer rooms in UAE malls to reopen at 30% capacity
Prayer rooms at malls and shopping centres in the UAE will reopen at 30 per cent capacity from Monday, July 20. The National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) said several precautionary measures will be in place at the prayer halls to keep worshippers safe from Covid-19. Muslims will be required to wear masks and gloves for prayers and they will be given a single-use prayer mat at the halls. Ablution spaces will be open for worshippers and they will be sterilised after each use. The halls will be closed and sterilised after every prayer. Places of worship reopened on July 1 at 30 per cent capacity - 107 days after they were closed to keep the faithful safe from the spread of Covid-19. However, prayer halls at malls remained closed.
Dubai transport sector's Covid-19 response among the world's best
Experts have lauded how Dubai's transportation sector responded to the Covid-19 pandemic, saying it was on par with other developed countries such as Taiwan and Singapore. In a recent meeting held to discuss post-Covid-19 challenges, the Dubai Future Council for Transportation, along with a number of experts, hailed the efforts of the emirate's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) in maintaining a high safety standard for both riders and employees. They said it was a remarkable achievement, considering that Dubai had not been exposed to the SARS outbreak like Taiwan and Singapore. The meeting was chaired by Mattar Mohammed Al Tayer, director-general and chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the RTA, and chairman of the Dubai Future Council for Transportation. Also in attendance were RTA board members and a host of local and global future fore-sighting experts.
Nearly one million medicines home-delivered for free in UAE
Nearly a million medicines have so far been delivered to patients' homes across the country, thanks to the free service being offered by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA). The initiative, called Dawa'ee, was initially launched for Dubai in December last year. However, challenges arising from the pandemic had prompted the authority to expand the programme to the entire country in March. With the service, residents who are vulnerable to Covid-19 - like the elderly and people of determination - receive their medications without having to step out of their homes. From March until the end of June, the Dawa'ee team managed to home-deliver 38,000 medical prescriptions, which included 310,000 types of medication and totalled 920,000 medicines, the DHA said.
Covid slams brakes on school transport business in UAE
School transport companies are passing through a critical phase and facing an uncertain future if the government doesn't come to their rescue through a bailout package, industry officials say. Analysts and industry stakeholders said the coronavirus outbreak wreaked havoc on the sector as they lost their business after schools were closed for normal operations in the last quarter of academic year 2019-20. However, they fear that the industry may fall into a deeper crisis if immediate remedial measures are not taken to ensure the smooth flow of operations in the new academic year. They said distance learning is going to be a new normal for some time and it will continue to adversely impact the school transport business in months to come. So, only a government stimulus plan can avert a disaster by bailing out the industry.
Soon, spot Dubai's new safety stamp at hotels, restaurants
Dubai has launched a safety stamp that certifies establishments' compliance with public health protocols to fight Covid-19. Shoppers and diners will soon find these 'Dubai Assured' seals at hotels, restaurants, retail outlets, leisure hubs and attractions across the city. This new certification programme comes as part of efforts to showcase the emirate as one of the world's safest destinations. The city received the Safe Travel stamp from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), days before it started welcoming tourists on July 7. Covering all tourism touchpoints across the emirate, the 'Dubai Assured' stamp shall be issued to establishments after health inspections. A verification process was put together by the Dubai Tourism, Dubai Economy and Dubai Municipality.
DIFC beats odds, attracts more firms despite Covid
Dubai continues to be a magnet for financial and fintech firms even during the coronavirus pandemic as the number companies at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) increased by 13 per cent to 2,584 at the end of the first half of 2020 compared to 2,289 in the same period last year. The region's largest financial free zone added 310 new companies during the January-June 2020 period, which included financial, fintech and other sectors, an increase of 25 per cent, it said in a statement on Saturday.
Worried parents prompt Dubai schools to devise classroom alternatives
Schools in Dubai have started devising concrete alternatives to on-campus learning, as several parents remain unsure of sending their children to classrooms after the summer break. This also comes on the heels of a recent advisory from the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), stating that once the academic year has started, "schools cannot choose to change the education model they are offering without prior approval". Earlier this month, the KHDA released a 118-point circular, titled 'Protocols for the Reopening of Private Schools in Dubai', detailing the safety measures related to fighting the spread of Covid-19. School heads contend that their ultimate goal is to provide the safest learning environment possible that also matches the needs of both parents and students.