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Top headlines: UAE unveils agile, nimble government; new law for drone activity; non-oil sector sees strong growth

Web Report/Dubai
Filed on July 5, 2020 | Last updated on July 5, 2020 at 04.46 pm

A look at the stories that have made the headlines over the last 24 hours.

Sheikh Mohammed announces new ministries, merges departments to unveil an agile, nimble government

The UAE today announced a more agile and nimble government structure that will lead the country into the future and be flexible enough to adapt to cater to any changes along the way.

Reflecting the digital savvy of the government, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced the changes through Twitter this morning. He noted the new government structure has been approved and is supported by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

Revealed: 33-member Cabinet that will lead UAE into the future

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced sweeping changes to the Cabinet on Sunday. Several ministries and federal departments have been merged to form a new government structure that is "faster and more flexible" and tasked with leading the country into the future.

The new Cabinet has 33 members, including Sheikh Mohammed.

The new government has been given one year to achieve its targets. "Continuous changes will be the motto of the new phase until we achieve the best possible governance fit for the new era; and until we achieve a government that fulfills the ambitions of the Emirati people."

Sheikh Mohammed issues law to regulate drone activity in Dubai

A new law to regulate drone activity in Dubai has been announced on Saturday.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, issued law No. (4) of 2020 on Saturday, outlining the regulations governing drone activity in Dubai, a statement issued by the Dubai Media Office said.

The law aims to reduce risks associated with drone activity and specifies the duties and responsibilities of relevant authorities. The new law also seeks to help Dubai promote itself as a hub for drone manufacturing, smart transportation and innovation in the sector, and enable public and private entities to use drones and provide drone-related services.

Emirates assures aircraft can filter out 99.97% of viruses

UAE airlines are reiterating their commitment to passenger health and cabin air quality, as the aviation industry returns to the skies in the wake of easing Covid-19 regulations.

In a post on Twitter on Sunday, Emirates Airlines confirmed that all their aircraft are fitted with advanced HEPA cabin air filters, which are proven to filter out "99.97 per cent of viruses on board".

According to the airline's website, the air in aircraft cabins is cleaned with advanced HEPA air filters "as powerful as the ones used in hospitals" throughout the flight.

Dubai shuts one outlet, fines 2 others for violating Covid-19 guidelines

Dubai Economy on Sunday said it closed one outlet and issued a warning to two others for not adhering to Covid-19 safety and precautionary guidelines last week.

The authority inspected almost 4,200 commercial businesses in order to ensure the safety of employees and customers alike.

"The market continues to maintain the highest levels of compliance with the guidelines set to limit the spread of Covid-19 with 4,195 businesses fully compliant, 1 closure, 2 warnings and zero fines," it said in a tweet summarising its inspections.

UAE's non-oil sector sees strong growth in June

The UAE's non-oil private sector witnessed strong growth in June, as the country continued to relax measures designed to stop the spread of Covid-19, new data showed on Sunday.

According to the IHS Markit UAE Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), new business rose at a solid pace, driving the first increase in output since last December.

The headline seasonally adjusted index - a composite indicator designed to give an accurate overview of operating conditions in the non-oil private sector economy - rose to 50.4 in June, to signal the first improvement in operating conditions for six months.

Dubai's new law to help flying taxis, drone deliveries take off with a network of mini airports

Dubai on Saturday issued a new law regulating the operations of drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), taking a step closer to connecting the city's landmarks and buildings aerially, through the 'Sky Dome' project.

The law has been issued by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The Sky Dome project will see the Dubai skies buzzing with unmanned flying objects that will connect places and buildings through landing pads and mini airports across the city.

Dubai all set to reopen for tourists

Marking a turning point in the tourism sector's road to recovery, the world's sought-after destination for tourists is all set to welcome holiday-makers from July 7 following the successful management of the Covid-19 pandemic and Dubai's efforts to revive the sector by reopening tourism facilities including hotels and airports, as well as the resumption of flights.

Reassuring tourists of several comprehensive measures to prevent the transmission of the pandemic, Dubai Tourism urged global travellers to make the city that boasts world class health and safety standards "a must-visit destination."

Abu Dhabi updates guidelines for residents to enter emirate

Residents leaving Abu Dhabi for a couple of days can take a Covid-19 test in the emirate and present the negative result on returning, authorities announced late on Saturday. The result will be valid for reentry for up to 48 hours, the Abu Dhabi Media Office said as it posted fresh guidelines.

"Presenting the test result more than 48 hours after receipt will not be considered valid. A new test will have to be taken outside the emirate in this case," the media office added.

Previously, only results of tests taken outside Abu Dhabi were considered valid to enter the Capital.

UAE residents not yet ready to travel abroad for Eid, summer season: Travel agents

Many UAE residents are not yet ready to travel overseas even as the country further eased restrictions, travel agents have said. 'Costly' airfares and the pandemic situation around the world were cited as the top reasons why most families are shelving holiday plans.

In its latest travel advisory, the UAE has relaxed guidelines, allowing citizens and residents to fly out to all accessible destinations for 'general' reasons. Safety rules remain in place but those in the country can now travel without applying for a permit from the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship.

Expats anxious as India withholds approvals for chartered flights

UAE-based Indian welfare groups are anxious about the fate of future repatriation flights from the UAE after two chartered flights to India could not take off on Saturday in the absence of approvals from authorities in India.

The Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre (KMCC), a welfare organisation, said the Etihad Airways EY254 flight that it had chartered from Abu Dhabi to Kozhikode on Saturday had to be cancelled 'at the last moment' because the Directorate of General Civil Aviation (DGCA) did not send the permissions necessary for it to land in India.

Free Covid-19 tests for Sharjah's Al Nahda residents

Residents of Sharjah's Al Nahda will be tested for Covid-19 for free from July 5, it was announced on Saturday. The Ministry of Health and Prevention will conduct the 10-day Covid-19 screening campaign in coordination with the Sharjah Police.

Residents of the area received an alert on their phones about the screening drive on Saturday. The testing will be carried out at a mobile screening centre set up in Al Nahda Park from 10am to 6pm. Initially, those aged 18 and above will be screened. They are required to bring their Emirates ID and the SMS alert they received.

Expat who dozed off and missed repatriation flight from Dubai flies home

A 53-year old Indian expat, who fell asleep and missed his flight back home, has flown to Kerala after spending a night at the Dubai International Airport. P. Shajahan, a storekeeper, flew to Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday. He was originally supposed to fly on an Emirates flight chartered by the Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre (KMCC) Dubai on Friday.

He fell asleep in the waiting area of Terminal 3 as the other 426 passengers boarded the flight. After he woke up, Shajahan had to stay put at the airport as his visa was cancelled.

Parents relieved as summer camps resume in Dubai

Summer camp organisers were flooded with calls from relieved parents on Saturday as Dubai green-lit activities for children during the two-month holidays.

Children's summer camps, as well as indoor theme parks, arcades, soft play areas, and edutainment hubs, were among those allowed to resume operations in Dubai Economy's latest announcement on Friday.

With children hunkered down at home for months, parents have had to constantly look for ideas to keep them busy, so the reopening of summer camp facilities came as a relief.

India's coronavirus tally soars to 673,165 after record 24,850 cases in single day

With 24,850 people testing positive for coronavirus infection and 613 succumbing to the disease in a day, the highest so far, India's COVID-19 caseload soared to 6,73,165, while the death toll climbed to 19,268 on Sunday, according to the Union Health Ministry data.  

This is the third consecutive day that coronavirus infections have increased by more than 20,000 in the country.

105-year-old man recovers from Covid-19 in Pakistan

A 105-year-old man in Pakistan's Punjab province has been discharged from hospital after successfully defeating Covid-19, the media reported.

Fazal Rauf, who is also a war veteran and has served in the Pakistan Army, was tested positive and had been quarantined in hospital since then, Xinhua news agency reported.

Rauf was tested for the disease again on Thursday and his report came out negative.

Combating coronavirus: Pakistan starts local production of ventilators to fight Covid-19

Pakistan has now joined the league of countries that are manufacturing their own ventilators at a commercial scale.

Around 12 ventilators have already been manufactured in the initial phase and production will be increased to 300 ventilators in the coming weeks, says Fawad Chaudhry, Pakistan's Minister for Science and Technology.

The ventilators have been developed by the National Radio Telecommunication Corporation (NRTC) in cooperation with the Ministry of Science and Technology, to support the nation's fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

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