Coronavirus news bulletin from UAE: Dubai tourism resumes in July; schools may reopen in September; Covid cases dip in capital; more public places to reopen

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


Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Mon 22 Jun 2020, 8:48 AM

Last updated: Mon 22 Jun 2020, 11:02 AM

Here's a round-up of all the latest Covid-19 developments you need to know:
Dubai to welcome tourists from July 7
Airports in Dubai will welcome tourists from July 7, 2020, it was announced on Sunday. The tourists will be required to present a recent Covid-19 negative certificate or undergo testing at the airport. The Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management added that the emirate's airports would start receiving residents stranded abroad from tomorrow (June 22). It also said that citizens and residents will be permitted to travel overseas from June 23. This came as the committee announced new protocols and conditions for citizens, residents and tourists travelling into or out of Dubai airports.
UAE may reopen school campuses in September
The UAE is considering the possibility of reopening educational institutions in September but with a 'well-studied plan' to make sure precautionary measures are in place, said Hussain bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education. He said that a decision will be taken after assessing the evolving status of the Covid-19 pandemic and also depending on health requirements issued by competent authorities. The minister was briefing the Education and Human Resources Council about plans to resume studies in general educational institutions, including reopening of public and private universities and schools. Schools on their part said they are looking to create micro-groups of pupils who will arrive at different times, take separate lunch breaks and stay in their own zones if they reopen in September.
UAE reports 392 new Covid-19 cases, 661 recoveries, 1 death
The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention on Sunday reported 392 new cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, along with 661 new recoveries. As many as 48,000 new Covid-19 tests have been carried out in the country, the ministry added. One new death from the infection was also announced. In a statement, the ministry highlighted its aim to expand the scope of testing nationwide, to facilitate the early detection of Covid-19 cases and carry out necessary treatment. The ministry has also called upon the public to adhere to health guidelines and instructions from the relevant authorities, particularly concerning social distancing, for the sake of the health and safety of all. As part of its intensified testing campaign, more than 1,700 Sharjah Municipality employees and 500 Souq Al Jubail vendors will be tested for Covid-19 in the second phase of the screening programme.
UAE aerobatics team paints Abu Dhabi sky in tribute to frontliners
Al Fursan, the UAE Air Force's aerobatic display team, painted the skies over a number of Abu Dhabi hospitals on Sunday, in tribute to the healthcare frontliners who have been bravely fighting the pandemic. Between 5.30pm and 6.30pm, the team flew over the Capital's Al Rahba Hospital, Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC), Zayed Military Hospital, Emirates Humanitarian City, Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City, and Al Ain Hospital - leaving their trails of UAE colours in the sky. Al Fursan will be bringing their sky-high tribute show to the rest of the country in the next couple of days. The initiative aims to convey a message of gratitude from His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and the rest of the General Command of the UAE Armed Forces. When the team flew by the SKMC, healthcare workers stepped out for a moment and waved miniature UAE flags in the air.
Coronavirus cases dip to less than 1% in Abu Dhabi city
Covid-19 cases has dipped to less than one percent in the Abu Dhabi city thanks to the ongoing National Screening Programme , the Abu Dhabi Emergency Crisis and Disaster Committee has announced. The sterilization drive has acheived lower rates of confirmed cases per total tests across all regions of the emirates, Abu Dhabi Media Office tweeted on Sunday. Testing will continue in Al Ain and Al Dhafra regions to reach a similar rate over the next 14 days. "Abu Dhabi authorities will continue testing campaign and apply the highest precautionary and preventive measures. It requests the public to remain cautious and cooperative, to maintain gained achievements and protect public health," said the authority. In the first two weeks of the travel ban, more than 388,000 Abu Dhabi residents were tested for the coronavirus. The UAE's capital has imposed travel restrictions on entering and exiting the emirate and between its regions for the third consecutive week in line with the National Screening Programme and to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Sharjah govt offices to operate at 50% capacity
Government offices in Sharjah reopened at 30 per cent capacity earlier this month and are operating at regular working hours. The capacity will now be increased to 50 per cent. "The working hours and staff strength will be gradually increased as the situation permits with the approval of the authorities concerned," the Sharjah Government Media Bureau said. Strict precautionary measures like social distancing and mandatory face masks at all times are in place at the government offices. Select groups of employees have been allowed to work from home. This includes those with chronic diseases, pregnant women, the elderly, mothers of children in grade 9 and below and those with family members who are at-risk cases.
Ras Al Khaimah Ruler surprises employees with personal message
His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, surprised the  emirate's employees with a personal message via video on Sunday. In the video, posted on Twitter, Sheikh Saud addressed his "brothers and sisters" and welcomed them back to work. The emirate has been lifting restrictions gradually over the last month, as the UAE works to resume regular operations in the wake of restrictions due to Covid-19. "This was a new experience for the UAE. The pandemic swept the earth, sparing no land, but, praise God, with His help and your amazing efforts, we are overcoming this adversity," said the ruler. "This is also thanks to the UAE's adoption of the latest technology and its investment in human capital," he added.
Cinemas, hotel beaches, pools to open in Sharjah
Cinemas, hotel beaches and swimming pools are among the public spaces that will be reopened in Sharjah at 50 per cent capacity on June 24. Select museums, education institutes and training centres are some of the other entities that will reopen. This came as the Emergency and Crisis Management Team in Sharjah met remotely. As he chaired the meeting, Maj-Gen Saif Al Zari Al Shamsi, Commander-in-Chief of the Sharjah Police, discussed with heads of other government departments the precautionary measures that will be implemented before the public spaces are reopened. This is the latest among several activities that have resumed across the country as it reopens responsibly. Earlier this month, commercial establishments like malls, salons and eateries reopened in Sharjah at 30 per cent capacity.
PIA hikes airfares for special flights from UAE
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has hiked airfares for special repatriation flights from the UAE by up to 57 per cent, authorities said. The new ticket prices shall take effect from tomorrrow, June 22. "PIA has increased its fare from Dubai to Peshawar and Punjab to Dh1,470 for economy class and Dh2,200 for business class. For Karachi, PIA has hiked airfares to Dh1,270 for economy and Dh1,900 for business class. These new fares will be applicable from Monday, June 22," said Ahmed Amjad Ali, the Consul-General of Pakistan in Dubai. Earlier, Pakistan's national carrier was charging Dh1,110 for an economy class ticket to Punjab and Peshawar, and Dh810 for Karachi. PIA has so far operated 105 flights in cooperation with the Pakistan's Consulate in Dubai, repatriating 22,000 Pakistanis from the emirate. Around 18 to 20 special flights will be operated from Dubai this week until June 27, Ali said in a video message released on Sunday.
Al Hosn app increases people's confidence to return to workplaces
The Al Hosn app is playing a crucial role in increasing people's confidence of returning to workplaces and public places, while protecting their families and colleagues, as the government has eased some Covid-19 restrictions, said a top official. Tayal Al Dhiyebi, CEO Aldar Properties, underlined the app has helped private firms detect thousands of people to ensure they are Covid-19 negative. "If you want to scan over 5,000 employees in 45 minutes to find out whether they have undergone the Covid-19 test and their result is negative, you just have to check their phones," said Al Dhiyebi during a virtual meeting held by UAE's public and private sectors to discuss plans for the safe reopening of activities and return to workplaces. The app was launched on April 26 to track those who have been in contact with infected cases, and to receive Covid-19 test results. The app helps limit the spread of the virus by locating and identifying people who either have Covid-19 or have been in contact with a patient.
Tickets for Louvre Abu Dhabi now available online
Tickets can now be purchased on Louvre Abu Dhabi's website ahead of the museum's reopening this Wednesday, June 24.  Visitors will once again be able to experience Louvre Abu Dhabi's world-class collection and view its latest international exhibition, Furusiyya: The Art of Chivalry between East and West, which will run from July 1 and extended until October 18. Entry will be free for guests under the age of 18, as part of the museum's mission to engage the young audiences and families. Manuel Rabaté, director of Louvre Abu Dhabi, assured that appropriate health and safety measures have been put in place - including thermal scanning, new opening hours, and limiting the number of visitors every hour. Masks and gloves will also be mandatory.
Schools in UAE consider segregating students for next academic year
Schools in the UAE are looking to create micro-groups of pupils who will arrive at different times and stay in their own zones for the next academic year. On-campus learning had been suspended across all educational institutions in the UAE in March as a precautionary measure against the spread of Covid-19. Education went online as schools and colleges implemented e-learning. Various private school groups in Dubai have expressed their intention to re-open school campuses in different stages following the summer break.
New hygiene certification for Abu Dhabi tourism sector
Standardised hygiene procedures have been rolled out by Abu Dhabi for its tourism sector as part of preparing to welcome visitors again. Hotels have been undergoing rigorous sanitation from March and will reopen after receiving clearance and certification from the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT - Abu Dhabi). On Saturday, authorities said the 'Go Safe' certification programme will be launched across all attractions in Abu Dhabi, including malls, restaurants, theme parks and other public spaces. "Abu Dhabi is setting a new standard for best practices in tourism, following the praise that the UAE has received for its proactive approach in addressing the current situation," said Ali Hassan Al Shaiba, executive director of tourism and marketing at DCT - Abu Dhabi.

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