A round-up of Covid-19 developments in the country.
Here’s a round-up of all the latest Covid-19 developments you need to know:
Muslims who have symptoms of Covid-19 may choose not to fast during the holy month of Ramadan, the UAE Council for Fatwa has said.
In a virtual meeting held to discuss the coronavirus situation, the council said all adults must fast during the holy month. However, coronavirus patients may opt not to do so. “If a doctor asks a person not to fast as it might affect his immunity, then the person has the right not to fast during Ramadan,” said the council. “Workers in the health sectors also have the Islamic right to choose not to fast during their work days.”
The council issued another Fatwa, saying that Muslims can perform Taraweeh prayers in their houses, either individually or as a group with people in the same house. They can also read, holding the Holy Qur’an while praying.
In a third Fatwa, the council said Eid prayers may also be performed at home
No need to pay instalment, interest during deferred period, says Central Bank
The UAE Central Bank on Sunday said that customers affected by the Covid-19 coronavirus will not be required to pay installments, including principal and interest amount, during the agreed deferred period with banks. But any interest accrued during the deferment period on the principal amount will be paid by the customer at a later date, which is agreed with the bank, said a statement issued on Sunday. The regulator urged that banks should not charge interest/profit on the deferred interest/profit amounts. Under its Dh256 billion Targeted Economic Support Scheme (Tess) announced earlier this month, Dh50 billion were allocated as liquidity relief for eligible customers who wish to apply for a deferment.
India sends 5.5 million hydroxychloroquine tablets to UAE
India has sent 5.5 million hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) tablets, a drug found to be efficient in fighting Covid-19, to the UAE. This medicine is the first batch in the over 30 million pills that India has promised to supply UAE. “We highly appreciate the cooperation of the Indian government in facilitating the procedures for obtaining the necessary approvals,” the UAE embassy in New Delhi tweeted on Saturday, April 18. Earlier, the Indian ambassador in the UAE Pawan Kapoor had told Khaleej Times that India is fast-tracking procedures to supply over 30 million HCQ tablets to the UAE after receiving a ‘note verbale’ from the government.
UAE outperforms the world with 77,550 tests per million people
The UAE has maintained its global leadership in maximising Covid-19 coronavirus tests in terms of the number of tests per 1 million people. It has also implemented precautionary measures appreciated by the entire community. According to statistics from the Worldometer website, the UAE has performed over 77,550 tests per million people and has expanded its coronavirus drive-through testing campaign, as part of a strategy to provide widespread testing of citizens and residents. The country has advanced drive-through testing centres in all emirates, in addition to clinics in Mussafah for workers.
Iconic UAE landmarks light up in colours of Swiss flag
The UAE sent a message of appreciation to the Government of Switzerland for displaying the UAE flag on the iconic Matterhorn Mountain in a gesture of global solidarity in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. Expressing its gratitude, the UAE affirmed the country’s support for international efforts to demonstrate unity during these challenging circumstances. The UAE stands with all nations working to combat the virus’ spread and considers the heartfelt act a symbol of global cooperation resonating with the leadership and people of the UAE. A number of prominent landmarks in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, including Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, ADNOC Headquarters, Abu Dhabi Global Market, Emirates Palace, Khalifa University and the Sheikh Zayed Bridge, lit up with the Swiss flag on Sunday night.
Abu Dhabi launches new app for detecting Covid-19 cases in UAE
The Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH) has launched a new innovative smartphone app TraceCovid, which allows users to keep track of Covid-19 cases and curb its spread between members of the society. The application will identify people who have been in close contact with those infected with the virus, with the aim to enable the official authorities to immediately reach out to possibly infected individuals and provide them with the necessary healthcare treatments, potentially minimising the spread of the virus. The app functions on bluetooth-enabled smartphones and allows users to detect and identify another device with the same installed app. When in close proximity of each other, both devices will exchange an encrypted Secure Tracing Identifier (STI) and store the exchanged STI locally on both devices. If one of the users is infected with the virus, the relevant authorities will be able to access the user’s data and timestamp, while ensuring complete privacy of personal information.
Use app and get meat delivered for free during Ramadan
Abbatoirs in Abu Dhabi will receive orders through ‘My Slaughtering’ app and deliver it to customers for free during Ramadan. The app has options available for all types of livestock so they can be slaughtered and delivered to consumers easily. The Abu Dhabi Municipality will also allow meat dealers to remain seated in their vehicles after giving specifications on how they want their animals. Their meat will then brought to them in their vehicles. This is to avoid people to gather in the waiting rooms during the current Covid-19 crisis. The civic body said all public slaughterhouses in the emirate have been readied to receive more than 70,000 animals during the holy month. “Health measures has also been increased as the demand for livestock will be increased.
How trimming down syllabus could help Indian school students
As the education sector copes with the impact of the pandemic, Indian schools in the UAE believe that trimming down the CBSE syllabus could be “the way forward”. Discussions of the syllabus came after the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) – an autonomous organisation that advises the government of India on qualitative improvement in education – released an alternative calendar for classes 1-8. This was meant to engage students as they stay at home during the closures imposed to fight Covid-19. Following this news, many have suggested that the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) may also adopt an alternative calendar for higher classes to suit the current situation. Khaleej Times reached out to several CBSE-affiliated schools in the UAE and they said that under the circumstances, reducing the syllabus for a few classes may help.
Volunteer doctors support Dubai’s isolation facility for Indian workers
A group of 22 healthcare volunteers – 10 doctors and 12 nurses – are helping treat patients with mild Covid-19 symptoms in a 500-bed, all-male isolation facility in Dubai’s Warsan community, Khaleej Times has learnt. “This is a joint effort between the Dubai Health Authority, Indian community members, and Aster DM Healthcare,” said Vipul, the Consul General of India to Dubai. “The Indian Business and Professional Council has been supportive as well,” he added. “The building [in Warsan] can take up to 500 patients and we are happy that several Indian doctors have come forward to volunteer their services,” he added. Healthcare workers volunteered their services at the request of the Indian Consulate in Dubai and it supplements the UAE’s and Dubai’s efforts in battling the pandemic, said Vipul.
Etihad Airways catering provides meals for people impacted by Covid-19
Etihad Airport Services Catering has been commissioned by various government entities, business organisations and community centres, to prepare and provide meals to individuals impacted by the global spread of Covid-19. The facility has been selected to support these initiatives due to its stringent food handling procedures, Etihad Airways said in a statement on April 19. One of the only food facilities to achieve ISO 17025 accreditation in the UAE by Emirates National Accreditation System, ENAS, EAS Catering ensures meals are prepared to the highest culinary hygiene standards through the laboratory testing of food, water, hands and surfaces.
UAE leaders’ response to Covid-19 ranked among Top-10 in the world
The UAE has been ranked among the top 10 countries with the best leadership response in the time of the global Covid-19 crisis, according to a new index. Called the Global Response to Infectious Diseases (GRID) index, the indicators were designed to rank how efficient and effective a country’s leadership is and how prepared its health systems are in tackling the pandemic. The results were recently published in a paper titled ‘GRID Index: Tracking the Global Leadership Response in the COVID-19 Crisis’ by the Institute of Certified Management Accountants (Australia). New Zealand topped the index, and apart from the UAE, the other countries that did well were Australia, Singapore, Iceland, Finland, Norway, Canada, South Korea, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Japan and Taiwan.
1,300 Dubai Municipality workers work round the clock
As many as 1,300 workers of the Dubai Municipality are on the frontlines of this Covid-19 coronavirus as they perform their daily duties, keeping the city’s streets clean. A three-shift system is being implemented to ensure the sustainability of the emirate’s cleanliness around the clock. Dubai Municipality cleaning workers perform their daily tasks of cleaning and sterilising as part of a special programme to clean and sterilise the storage of different waste materials, pavements, main and branch roads, in addition to water channels, creeks, beaches, residential, industrial and commercial areas. The latest equipment and tools are used to remove waste from the roads, especially cigarette butts, masks, gloves and small waste. Emergency teams have been formed to ensure coverage of all areas in the emirate.
RTA limits number of riders in taxis
The Road and Transport Authority has made a new announcement with regards to the number of passengers travelling in the taxis. To maintain the safety of all passengers during their essential trips, RTA has limited the number of taxi riders to two per taxi in the rear seat of the car. The announcement regarding the same had been made on the authority’s official Twitter account. The free parking facility in Dubai has also been extended until April 25, 2020. According to a message from the RTA, the extension is until 11:59pm on April 25. The decision is in line with the extension of the 24-hour National Sterilisation Programme in Dubai.
Nearly 23,000 foreign nationals repatriated from UAE; 2,286 Emiratis flown home from other countries
As many as 2,286 Emiratis and their companions have been repatriated so far from 43 countries since the outbreak of the Covid-19 coronavirus, the UAE announced on Sunday. A total of 86 land and air repatriations have taken place to bring back the Emiratis, and 11 more are in the pipeline, the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said on Sunday. The ministry also announced that 22,900 foreign citizens have been repatriated from the UAE via 127 land and air operations, and 27 more repatriations are in the pipeline. As many as 5,185 foreign citizens have been flown to their home countries on board UAE’s national carriers.
Medical check-ups for over 10,000 Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone workers
Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone, RAKEZ, has recently carried out 10,000 medical check-ups for labourers working from RAKEZ industrial zones. The check-ups took place inside clients’ facilities and labour accommodations within the sites. This ongoing initiative is being conducted in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Prevention, MoHAP, which brought the team of qualified healthcare professionals, and the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, MoHRE, RAKEZ said today in a press release. “We have been working hand-in-hand with MoHAP and MoHRE in carrying out these check-ups since the last week of March and we are committed to continue and carry out as many as 20,000 tests by May 2020,” said Ramy Jallad, Group CEO of RAKEZ.
Only a quarter of Dubai left to be disinfected: Civil Defence
More than 75 per cent of the emirate’s areas have now been sanitised, including 490 workers’ accommodations, the Dubai civil defence said on Sunday. As many as 161,977 workers have also been educated about the important measures they should take to protect themselves from the Covid-19 coronavirus. The civil defense also announced that the number of accidents and incidents in the emirate have decreased by 79 per cent in March compared to February. The civil defense has carried out 813 building inspections during the past two weeks within its normal working routine. Additionally, it announced that it conducted 770 transactions for approving engineering plans, and 438 transactions for approving companies within the same period of time.
How to get married in UAE while you #StayHome
With social distancing in place to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, marriages are now being conducted using visual communication systems, the Sharjah Family Court has said. Virtual knots are being tied through online conferencing in the presence of a marriage cleric, bride, groom and their parents or guardians, according to a top court official. “The service was launched by the Ministry of Justice to reduce the number of people at the court premises and facilitate personal transactions of citizens and residents, thereby preserving the health and safety of all,” he said. Couples intending to marry can benefit from the service by logging on to the ministry’s website – www.moj.gov.ae. They have to choose e-services option to enter the required data and register for the marriage service. Couples can also choose their marriage cleric from those listed in the system and fix a convenient date.
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