Coronavirus news bulletin from UAE: 387 new cases confirmed; DHA to start blood plasma treatment; home testing programme launched

UAE coronavirus , Wuhan, Covid-19, China, warning, travel, Coronavirus outbreak, lockdown, pandemic, Combating coronavirus

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


Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Mon 13 Apr 2020, 9:00 AM

Last updated: Mon 13 Apr 2020, 3:55 PM

Here's a round-up of all the latest developments you need to be aware of:
UAE announces 387 new cases of Covid-19

The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention on Sunday announced 387 new cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus in the country, bringing the total number of registered cases to 4,123. The ministry also announced 92 recoveries and two deaths bringing the total number of deaths to 22. The intensification of the examination procedures in the country has led to the detection of these cases, all of which are stable and subject to the necessary healthcare. The ministry expressed its regret and sincere condolences to the families of the deceased.
DHA set to start treating Covid-19 patients with blood plasma this week

The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) is set to start using blood plasma from recovered coronavirus (COVID-19) patients to treat critical COVID-19 cases, following the UAE's announcement that it will adopt this treatment method. The DHA will implement the treatment, known as convalescent plasma therapy, during the course of this week. Dr Younis Kazim, CEO of Dubai Healthcare Corporation at the DHA, said that the DHA has introduced the protocol for convalescent plasma therapy at DHA hospitals and private hospitals in Dubai in an important step towards the treatment and prevention of the spread of Covid-19.

UAE can now conduct 10,000 screenings daily

Up to 7,100 people can be tested every day with the new drive-through Covid-19 testing facilities spread across the UAE, according to authorities. A total of 14 new drive-through testing facilities are now operational, said the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA). The country now has the capacity to conduct 10,000 tests or more daily as the figure from the drive-through facilities exclude the tests being conducted at government hospitals and out-patients clinics across the UAE.
SEHA opened up the facilities following the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, for protecting the health, safety and well-being of the UAE community, and curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus.
UAE reviewing labour relations with countries not responding to evacuation requests

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) has announced that it is studying measures to take with regards to current labour relations with partner countries. A ministry official said that MoHRE is looking into revising current partnerships concerning labour relations with nations refusing to cooperate with evacuation measures undertaken by the UAE to repatriate private sector expatriates who wish to return home. The official noted that the ministry's move comes after a number of countries did not respond to requests by their nationals to return home following the Covid-19 developments. The official stated that the options currently being studied include the halting of any memoranda of understanding between the ministry and the concerned authorities of non-cooperative countries, as well as the introduction of restrictions or quotas for future recruitment.
Abu Dhabi programme to help residents affected by Covid-19

The Authority of Social Contribution, Ma'an, announced that it will use the funds contributed to its 'Together We Are Good' programme to help families and individuals most in need across four key areas: education, food supplies, health support and basic needs. It called on those seeking assistance for education support to call a hotline or register their request for relief on a specially created microsite. Over the last three weeks, residents of Abu Dhabi have come together in an unprecedented way to offer financial and in-kind contributions to help ease the effects of the current health and economic situation. Now, the search will begin for the most deserving beneficiaries to ensure this money is used to help the members of the community most in need.

Helicopter spreads #StayHome message in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi Aviation is spreading awareness about Covid-19 by having a helicopter fly across all the emirates displaying messages in Arabic and English, urging community members to stay at home, maintain social distancing and avoid gatherings. The campaign started today from the capital and will spread to the other emirates in the coming days. The messages, which say "Dedication at Work and Safety at Home", remind people to work from home to keep themselves and others safe, and avoid the risk of spreading Covid-19.
Etihad announces additional special passenger flights

Etihad Airways has announced a series of special passenger flights from Abu Dhabi to Brussels, Dublin, London Heathrow, Tokyo Narita and Zurich, in addition to those previously published. Etihad Airways has been operating special flights which have allowed passengers stranded in the UAE due to Covid-19 restrictions, the opportunity to return home, the airline said in a statement. The flights also support the 'UAE Food Security Programme' by utilising belly-hold capacity of passenger aircraft for cargo. The airline continues to repatriate UAE citizens on return sectors, where possible, and carry fresh produce as belly-hold cargo back to Abu Dhabi.
Don't defame Covid-19 patients, warn police

Anyone found posting or circulating a message that invades the privacy of coronavirus patients and their families or defames those with symptoms on social media platforms could be jailed for six months and fined between Dh150, 000 and Dh500, 000, the Ajman Police have warned.
The warning has come following a number of complaints about people posting messages or comments and mentioning the names of those who have contracted coronavirus or have developed symptoms of the disease. The police would investigate all these complaints. "The cases will be dealt with firmly according to the law and the accused will be referred to the public prosecution for legal action," an Ajman Police official said.
UAE launches home testing programme for people of determination

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, on Sunday announced the launch of a home testing programme for the people of determination. "As the UAE continues to work to prevent the spread of Covid-19, I applaud today's launch of the National Home Testing Program for People of Determination. It is essential that the UAE continues to ensure all segments of the community have adequate access to testing facilities," Sheikh Mohamed said in a tweet. The UAE has so far conducted nearly 650,000 Covid-19 tests, it was announced on Saturday at a Ministry of Health and Prevention virtual conference.

Lost your job? Employer must provide accommodation

Private companies in the UAE are obliged to provide accommodation or housing allowance to workers who are laid off due to the economic challenges posed by Covid-19 until they leave or find another job. Employers are also required to clear all their dues, lawyers have told Khaleej Times. This is according to decree No 279 of 2020 recently issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation on regulating private sector jobs and salaries. Emirati lawyer Abdul Moneim Bin Suwaidan of Bin Suwaidan Firm for Advocates and Legal Counsels urged the employers to respect the basic rights of workers, especially during this situation.

NMC board, management should be held accountable: Al Ghurair

The board and management of troubled NMC Healthcare should be held accountable for the financial irregularities, said Abdulaziz Al Ghurair, chairman of the UAE Banks Federation. "Banks have dealt with the exposure professionally and they lent to a company which was listed on FTSE-100 index with world-class regulator and the world's largest audit firm doing their audit. Even if they present their balance sheet today, people will still lend to them," Al Ghurair said during a virtual press conference on Sunday. "This is a world-class fraud and the management and board members should be held accountable. We should have a different track to handle this company it is not a normal track that we can go," he said.
Put on suit and gown: Weddings go online in UAE

The UAE has launched an online marriage service that allows couples to wed amid restrictions on movement imposed to counter the coronavirus. The justice ministry said on Sunday that citizens and residents can set a date for an online wedding ceremony conducted via video link with a cleric after their paperwork is submitted and approved - also online, according to Wam. The procedure will see a cleric confirm the identity of the couple and witnesses, before a marriage certificate is relayed to a specialised court for validation.

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