Coronavirus news bulletin from UAE: 432 new cases confirmed; first genome sequencing announced; new restrictions for workers

Coronavirus, UAE, genome sequencing, workers, Covid-19

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


Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Thu 16 Apr 2020, 8:51 AM

Last updated: Thu 16 Apr 2020, 6:07 PM

Here's a round-up of all the latest developments you need to be aware of:
UAE announces 432 new cases on Wednesday

The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention on Wednesday, April 15, announced 432 new cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases to 5,365. The ministry also said that more than 1,034 cases of recoveries have been reported in the country, with the addition of 101 new cases. The Ministry of Health and Prevention expressed its sincere condolences to the families of five expats of different nationalities who tested positive for COVID-19 and died due to complications. This brings total death toll to 33. As priority is given to performing advanced and extensive testing and screening to identify and isolate cases as early as possible, more than 767,000 Covid-19 tests were performed to date, across the UAE, UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention announced.
UAE among top-10 nations for Covid-19 treatment

The UAE has been ranked among the top-10 Covid treatment efficiency countries in the world, according to an international study. The survey conducted by Deep Knowledge Group, a UK based firm, ranked the UAE in the 10th position in the world and the first in the Arab countries for efficiently treating coronavirus patients. Germany was ranked No.1 followed by China in the second position and South Korea came third. Austria, Hong Kong and Singapore came fourth, fifth and sixth in the Covid-19 treatment rankings, respectively.
'Do Not Worry' campaign launched in UAE

In a bid to help residents overcome fear and anxiety amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the UAE has rolled out a nationwide mental health campaign. Dubbed 'Do Not Worry', the campaign runs daily through social media and other podcasts that will be produced in English and Arabic under the title 'Happy UAE', Ammar Al Muaini, spokesperson for the National Program for Happiness and Quality of Life, said in a virtual Press briefing on Wednesday."More than 50 psychologists and other experts have volunteered to take part in this national campaign," Al Muaini said in a virtual Press briefing.
Sharjah bans workers from travelling to other emirates

Transporting Sharjah workers outside the emirate is now prohibited as part of the Covid-19 precautions, according to a new circular issued by the Sharjah Economic Development Department (SEDD) on Wednesday, April 15. Non-resident workers will also not be allowed to enter the emirate, the advisory said. Violators shall face administrative penalties. Sultan Abdullah bin Hadda Al Suwaidi, chairman of the SEDD, said the measure was put in place to ensure social distancing and protect public health amid the Covid-19 outbreak.
Sing the UAE national anthem from your balconies on Wednesday, Friday

A new initiative to boost morale and spread positivity among people in the UAE was launched on Wednesday. According to the 'Together We Chant for UAE' initiative, residents are encouraged to sing the UAE national anthem from their balconies on Wednesday and Friday at 9pm. The initiative is an appreciation for the frontline workers, everyone in the health sector, as well as the leadership of the UAE. Residents are also encouraged to share the videos on social media to spread happiness and hope among the people of UAE.
40,000 Pakistanis register in UAE to fly back home

The number of Pakistanis who have registered with the Dubai consulate for repatriation reached 40,000 on Wednesday, according to Ahmed Amjad Ali, consul-general of Pakistani in Dubai. "For online ticket booking, over 40,000 people have registered till now for repatriation. From April 18, PIA will start flights to Pakistan. People need to understand that there is a limited capacity in the aircraft as well as in Pakistan to test and quarantine people. So within these limitations, we will continue to repatriate people from the UAE time and again," Ali said in a video message released on Wednesday. The consulate has also distributed ration to 8,500 people since the outbreak of Covid-19 and nearly 11,000 people still need support. Majority of them either lost jobs or had their visas expired in the UAE.
Dubai announces first full genome sequencing of Covid-19 virus

Dubai's Covid-19 Command and Control Center announced the UAE's first full genome sequencing of the Covid-19 virus on Wednesday. The successful sequencing of the virus from a patient in Dubai was performed by researchers at the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU). Emphasising the important role of science in combating the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr. Amer Sharif, Vice Chancellor of MBRU and head of Dubai's Covid-19 Command and Control Center said: "Scientific research is a critical resource to inform the Center's strategies and actions against this virus. We are fortunate to have academic institutions that can join other sectors in Dubai in the fight against Covid-19."

Indian expats warned against fake repatriation circular

Indian missions on Tuesday warned expats against fake circulars regarding repatriation. The circular asks stranded expats - visit visa holders, elders and jobless - to send their personal details to the missions. "It has come to our notice that a message is being circulated on social media asking Indians stranded in the UAE to send their personal particulars to various email IDs of the Indian Embassy. Please note no such message has been sent by the embassy," the Indian Embassy clarified. Meanwhile the Indian Consulate Dubai noted that the circular was a fake one. "CGI Dubai has not issued any such advisory. Indian nationals should take note of this."

Air Arabia announces repatriation, cargo flights to 9 countries

Sharjah's budget carrier Air Arabia on Wednesday announced new passenger repatriation as well as cargo flights to nine countries from Sharjah International Airport.The airline will operate a mix of outbound-only passenger flights as well as cargo flights during the month of April to Afghanistan, Iran, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Sudan, Egypt, India and Nepal. However, the airline will be operating only cargo flights to India as New Delhi on Tuesday announced suspension of all domestic and international commercial passenger operations till 11.59pm on May 3.

Parking fees suspended in Abu Dhabi until further notice

Abu Dhabi has extended the suspension of Mawaqif parking fees until further notice. In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Department of Municipalities and Transport announced the continuation of suspension of Mawaqif parking fees in the Capital until further notice. Earlier in March, Admt announced the suspension of Mawaqif parking fees for a period of three weeks starting from March 30. The policy will be subject to revision and extension.
Consumers in Dubai file 784 price hike complaints in 2 weeks

As many as 784 complaints were registered with Dubai authorities related to price hikes in two weeks of launching awareness campaign, according to a press statement issued by Dubai Economy on Wednesday. Dubai Economy's Commercial Compliance & Consumer Protection (CCCP) department had set up a new portal for consumers to submit complaints related to price increase.Ahmed Al Zaabi, Director of the Consumer Protection in Dubai Economy, said: "We are keen to provide different channels that consumers of all ages and segments can use to protect their rights. We received 71% o fcomplaints related to price increases through the portal during the last two weeks while 29% came through the Dubai Consumer application."
20% rent refund announced for eateries, entertainment facilities

Abu Dhabi Economic Department announced a 20 per cent rent refund for restaurants and food and beverage outlets, as well as tourist and entertainment facilities - as part of its coronavirus stimulus package to help business impacted by the coronavirus. The resolution follows measures announced under the Abu Dhabi Economic Stimulus Package earlier this year. This refund applies to contracts signed between October 1, 2019 and Mar 31, 2020, or renewed between April 1 and September 30, 2020. The initiative does not apply for lease-to-own contracts.
Unable to fly home, couple in UAE sends son's body to India in cargo flight

An Indian couple in Dubai are inconsolable as they lost their teenage son to cancer - and because of travel restrictions, they didn't even have the chance to accompany his body as it was flown in a cargo plane to Kochi, India, on Wednesday. Jomai and Jensil George's son, Jewel Jomai, succumbed to cancer at the American Hospital in Dubai last Friday.  Jewel had been battling the disease that struck his left leg since he was nine. After several treatment sessions and surgeries, he was able to get back to his normal life, though with the help of crutches and a wheelchair. However, as fate would have it, his right leg was affected recently, causing him to lose his battle with cancer.
Dubai Police provide over 1,000 3D-printed face shields

As part of comprehensive precautionary measures against Covid-19, Dubai Police have provided 3D-printed face shields to its frontline personnel working to combat the coronavirus. Over 1,000 face shields have been provided to its officials at the forefront of fighting the pandemic. The face shields, manufactured using 3D printing technology, are designed to provide the highest level of protection for teams working on the frontlines. Some of the key workers benefiting from the face shields are ambulance personnel. The face shields, worn over face masks, provide an added layer of protection since they cover the eyes. The lightweight and easy-to-use shields can be attached behind the ears. The top head mount of the shield is reusable and can be sanitised, while its front transparent visor is replaceable.

Report violations to UAE public prosecution online

UAE residents can now report violations on Covid-19 restrictions through the federal prosecution's website.The Federal Public Prosecution said on Wednesday that people can file complaints through the website,, against anybody violating the precautionary measures put in place to contain the spread of coronavirus. This service allows the general public to report offenders as per the administrative resolution which listed the new penalties for violating Covid-19 restrictions.

How you can avail of UAE visa validity extension

The UAE made a major announcement on Monday about extending the validity of all residency visas, entry permits and Emirates IDs till the end of 2020. A top official has now said that the process will be automatic. This means that you won't have to renew your documents if they expired after March 1, 2020. The validity is automatically extended until December 31, 2020. In an interview with Abu Dhabi Radio, Brigadier Khamis Al Kaabi, official spokesperson of the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (FAIC), clarified multiple points about the scheme. Expats with residency visas that expired on or after March 1 will have their validity extended automatically till the end of 2020. "The residency visas of expats that expired as on March 1 will be automatically extended till the end of December 2020," Brig Al Kaabi said.

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