Authorities update people on sterilisation programme, rules, reopening of tourism and relief packages for businesses, workers.
All entities have been deployed to contain the spread of coronavirus Covid-19 in Dubai, authorities said today in a virtual press conference.
“We have eased some restrictions and allowed people to move around in Dubai. At every stage we assess and based on the results, we take further steps. We haven’t yet overcome the danger stage,” Lieutenant General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, Commander in Chief of Dubai Police, said on Thursday.
“We had to take stringent measures in the beginning because that was the need of the hour. The commitment was good with some exceptions. Economic Department took a lot of measures on initial days and adherence was 80 per cent,” said Sami Al Qamzi, Director General of the DED.
‘Residents played the most important role in the success of the operations in Naif by adhering to the 24-hour restrictions. It was a success for all departments, including Dubai Police, Dubai Municipality, Dubai Health Authority and Dubai Ambulance services, Al Marri added.
Responding to a question about whether are there any other areas that will be locked down, Al Marri said that all decisions are taken based on data and statistics.
“It was laid out as per instructions from Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council,” said Al Marri.
“We hope we do not have to close down any other area in Dubai or elsewhere in the UAE,” the top police official added.
“Various means to raise awareness about the virus and measure to be taken have been used, including social media,” said Al Qamzi.
Al Marri noted that the Dubai police has a strong infrastructure like other government departments.
“The traffic registered after the relaxing of movement has been normal. It is incumbent of everybody to stick to the safety measures to curb the spread of the virus.”
“We were pleasantly surprised during the first day of the restrictions to see the high level of compliance, such as wearing masks, gloves when stepping out.
“Some individuals were reckless and we had to fine them but by and large the residents complied.”
The Dubai Police Commander-in-Chief said that it was the responsibility of every individual to adhere to the precautionary measures and limit gatherings to five or less inside their homes.
“We cannot monitor every individual but we have faith in every individual’s sense of responsibility,” he added.
Price hikes and economic impact
Al Qamzi said that at the beginning of the pandemic, the government focused on ensuring that there was no price hike on essential items, including hand sanitisers and masks.
“We have put a cap on the prices and have a portal where any price-hikes can be reported.
“Dubai played a very important role in setting benchmarks while trying to contain this crisis and that will be a major factor in attracting future foreign direct investment (FDI).”
He added that post-Covid-19 economy will be very different than before the pandemic.
“Dubai has always been flexible and we will learn from the challenges, and will modify our model for the future,” an optimistic Al Qamzi added.
When will Dubai open for tourism?
Complete re-opening of public places such as beaches, parks, shopping malls largely depends on adherence from retailers and the general public, said the chief of the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED).
For malls to re-open beyond the current 30 per cent capacity, adherence to social distancing guidelines from both businesses and people is necessary, said Al Qamzi.
Al Qamzi said, “Moving from one stage of re-opening to the next largely depends on the success of stage one. If people are adhering to the guidelines, we will see the full re-opening of our businesses shortly.”
He added that as we open the economy in phases – keeping in mind the number of cases – and as we unlock the next levels, we will be able to take a call on opening the airports and markets for tourists.
“It will also depend on international markets from where tourists are expected. Our colleagues in the tourism department are talking abut June-July. It also depends on how soon a vaccine can be found,” Al Qemzi added.
Are there any plans to support the private sector with further incentives?
Al Qemzi: As we know, the number of people who have lost their jobs due to Covid-19 will be higher than those infected by the virus – UAE and specifically Dubai has launched a number of incentives to support businesses and workers.
The govt is looking into further incentives that can be offered at a later stage. For some the current incentives may not be enough but the government is looking at further incentives. We hope to be able to retain the number of companies and their revenue.
Originally from Lebanon, Marie has been covering the Dubai Courts and the Public Prosecution, immigration and labour issues often, and the Dubai International Film Festival. A graduate from the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, Jounieh, a city to the north of Beirut, she worked as an in-house reporter of international affairs at a leading TV station back home and a legal translator for a renowned law academy in the Lebanese capital. Speaks fluently four languages and is fond of travelling, psychology, learning more, and has grown by now a rich ‘criminal’ imagination…
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