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:
The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention on Tuesday reported 574 cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, along with 560 recoveries. No deaths were reported. Nearly 83,000 new Covid-19 tests were carried out in the country. In just six weeks, 31,000 people have volunteered for the UAE’s Covid-19 vaccine clinical trials, making it among the largest in the world in terms of volunteer recruitment. Health authorities have confirmed that they have reached a sufficient number of volunteers to complete the trial, so new registrations are no longer accepted. Vaccine centres at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre and Al Qarain Centre in Sharjah are now closed to new volunteers. However, they remain open to individuals taking their second shot and for other health check-ups required as part of the 4Humanity programme.
Suspected Covid-19 cases force some UAE schools to go online
The National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) has directed a group of schools to switch to online education after suspected cases of Covid-19 was diagnosed among the school staff. “The announcement came after suspected cases of Covid-19 virus were found among the employees who were examined. The precautionary measure will remain in place until the results of the laboratory tests appear,” NCEMA tweeted on Tuesday. The cases were detected during the implementation of the mandatory testing for teachers and administrative staff in schools before the start of the academic year, the authority said. Schools in the UAE reopened for the new academic year on August 30.
Zero-rated VAT for face masks, sanitisers in UAE
Medical equipment like disposable suits, hand sanitisers, face masks, respirators for air purification and gloves will be subject to zero-rated value-added tax (VAT) in the UAE. A resolution stipulating this was adopted by the UAE Cabinet on Tuesday to mitigate the repercussions of Covid-19 and support the healthcare sector in the country. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, chaired the meeting at Qasr Al Watan in Abu Dhabi. He hosted virtually a number of teaching staff and students from different schools in the UAE. In a video and photos posted on his social media handles, he can be seen interacting with the students and teachers while they were in their classrooms.
Student attendance at UAE schools limited to 25%; will be increased gradually
Student attendance at schools across the UAE has been limited to 25 per cent and a full return to campus will be implemented in phases, a minister has said. “Overall students’ attendance numbers will be initially limited to 25 per cent and after two weeks, we plan to increase this to 50 per cent, then 75 per cent, and until we reach full attendance for those opting for in-person classes,” said Hussain bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education, on Tuesday. He said 1.27 million students resumed their studies for the new academic year, including 130,000 at universities. “The UAE decided on a hybrid education system to give parents the freedom to choose between their children’s attendance at school or distance education for the first semester.
Flying to India? Registration on missions’ websites no longer needed
Indian expatriates who wish to travel to India are no longer required to register on the missions’ websites, announced the Consulate General of India in Dubai in a press release. The Consulate said: “India and the UAE are continuing with the “air bubble agreement”, hence registration of Indian nationals who desire to travel to India from UAE is no longer required on the Consulate General of India, Dubai website.” The registration of Indian nationals was introduced to facilitate repatriation. However, since a number of flights are operational between UAE and Indian carriers along with flights operated by Air India and Air India Express from Dubai/Sharjah, the process of registration at the website of the Indian Consulate has been abolished with immediate effect.
After Emirates, flydubai also offers free global cover for Covid-19
Budget carrier Flydubai on Tuesday announced that passengers booking for travel between September 1 and November 30, 2020 will automatically receive free global cover for Covid-19. The new service covers passengers’ health expenses and quarantine costs if diagnosed with Covid-19 during their trip and is valid for 31 days from the time they take their first flight on their itinerary. The service enables passengers to benefit from coverage for their medical expenses up to 150,000 euros (Dh660,600 ) and quarantine costs up to 100 euros (Dh440) per day for 14 days. In July, Dubai’s Emirates airline also announced that it will cover medical expenses of up to 150,000 euros and quarantine costs of 100 euros per day for 14 days, should they be diagnosed with Covid-19 during their travel, while they are away from home. This cover is provided by the airline, free of cost to its customers.
35,000 Dubai teachers, school staff undergo free Covid-19 tests
Over 35,000 teachers and staff from schools across Dubai have undergone Covid-19 testing for free, it was announced on Tuesday. The tests were conducted within six days at nine centres set up especially for this purpose. The teachers and other academic staff received their test results within 12 hours. “Ahead of the start of the new academic year, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) ensured comprehensive preparations were in place to screen school staff for Covid-19. It formed a specialised task force consisting doctors, nurses and medical staff, and provided them with state-of-the-art equipment to conduct the tests,” the Government of Dubai Media Office said in a statement.
Dubai resident uses magic, mimicry to raise Covid-19 awareness
Dubai resident TV Siraj’s skills of magic and mimicry have come in handy to raise awareness about the need to stay alert against the Covid-19 pandemic. Siraj, a government employee, used to do magic shows to utilise his free time. However during lockdown when all social activities were halted, he started creating videos to motivate and encourage people to follow norms of the new normal and help the UAE combat the coronavirus. “I realised people were tense because of the situation caused by lockdown. Back then the cases were also rising. I started creating videos on magic tricks to ease nerves, allay fears of the people and at the same time, raise awareness. My main tools were face mask, gloves and sanitiser. I got a good response as many people shared those videos on WhatsApp groups and other social media platforms,” said the 40-year-old from the Indian state of Kerala.
‘Food security not a worry for Abu Dhabi residents amid Covid-19’
An overwhelming 93 per cent of Abu Dhabi residents have expressed confidence in the emirate’s food security standards during the Covid-19 pandemic, a new survey conducted by the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (Adafsa) has revealed. Those polled said they trust food facilities’ ability to meet demands despite challenges arising from the pandemic. This confidence level surpasses the global average of 77 per cent, according to Adafsa. The poll was aimed at understanding the impact of Covid-19 on grocery shopping, eating habits and consumers’ perceptions of food safety and security in the Capital. It revealed that 86 per cent of the residents have confidence in the precautionary measures being taken by Adafsa to ensure food safety during the pandemic.
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