Covid-19 news bulletin from UAE: 277 new cases reported; drive-through testing centre in Dubai; permit needed for pedestrians, cyclists; Emirates flies special flights

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


Here’s a round-up of all the latest developments you need to be aware of:

UAE to intensify coronavirus screenings

The UAE will intensify screenings across the country as the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) reported 277 new cases of Covid-19 on Monday. With 23 recoveries announced on Monday, the total number of recoveries is 167. An Asian resident was declared dead, taking the death toll to 11. Speaking at a Press conference, Dr Farida Al Hosani, spokeswoman for MoHAP, said authorities are intensifying screening procedures and extending the testing scope to include all UAE nationals and residents. “This will give a big boost to our successful efforts to contain all infected cases, significantly reduce infections, and curb the virus.”

277 new cases confirmed

The UAE has confirmed 277 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total to 2,076 cases, according to Dr Farida Al Hosani, spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Prevention (Mohap).

During a media briefing on Monday, Dr Al Hosani said with 23 new recoveries, the total number of recoveries stood at 167, while an Asian patient was declared dead, taking the total number of deaths to 11.

Drive-through coronavirus testing centre opens in Dubai; 5 more to open soon

Al Futtaim Health has opened a drive-through Covid-19 testing station in Dubai, with five more set to open soon. The first station at Festival City does between 100 and 200 tests for Al Futtaim Group employees and eligible residents. Once all six centres are launched, they can do close to 1,000 tests a day. Dr Haidar Al Yousuf, managing director of Al Futtaim Health, said: “The other five centres at our Health Hub clinics in Al Qusais, Discovery Garden, Silicon Oasis, Al Warqa and International City will be functional very soon.” Residents wanting to take a test must complete an online self-assessment on the HealthHub website “to assess their eligibility so that these critical health services are prioritised to those who need them the most”, Dr. Yousuf said.

Radars in Dubai will use AI to check if you should be fined

Motorists violating precautionary measures during national sterilisation program are being caught using Artificial Intelligence (AI). Brigadier Saif Muhair Al Mazroui, Director of The General Department of Traffic in Dubai, has revealed that not all vehicles detected by the radars will receive fines, as the radars in Dubai use AI, and will not penalise those motorists with permits or employees working in vital sectors. Talking to Noor Dubai radio station, Al Mazroui said that if a radar has flashed a car, it doesn’t mean the motorist will be fined – stressing that cars that take different routes from home to work could face fines, same as people with permits.

Dubai move permit needed even for pedestrians, cyclists

Cyclists and pedestrians in Dubai will also need move permits before stepping out to buy essentials. According to the permit website, residents will now also have to enter details of the purpose of travel as well as the mode of transport they will be using. Residents can apply for a permit at The move permit website was launched yesterday by the Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management, which said that individuals seeking permission to leave their homes during the period of expanded sterilisation operations should register themselves on the website.

Abu Dhabi announces national sterilisation programme timings

In line with the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) and the Ministry of Interior’s decision to continue the ‘National Disinfection Programme’ to stop the coronavirus spread, Abu Dhabi has announced timings for the sanitisation drive. According to a statement issued by the Abu Dhabi Media Office on Monday, the national sterilisation programme in the Capital will be from 8pm to 6am in residential areas, and 6pm to 6am in industrial zones and workers accommodations. Authorities have asked residents to stay home as a responsibility towards you, your family and the community.

How to get transport permits for workers? Dubai Municipality clarifies

Vehicles, including buses transporting construction workers, are authorized to carry only 50 per cent of the total capacity of the bus, said Dubai Municipality. Furthermore, in order to transport construction workers from job sites to their accommodation and back, contractors must fill a special permit form and submit it to the authorities when asked, tweeted Dubai Municipality. The form filled out must contain workers’ data, bus number, contractor’s name, project area, accommodation area, Makani number, and driver mobile number. A copy of this form has been made available on the Dubai Municipality website.

Isolators in Dubai cabs to prevent Covid-19 infection

Dubai Taxi Corporation has launched an initiative to install isolators in its fleet of taxis as part of further preventive measures against the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19). The isolators are in the form of a protection transparent partition screen that will ensure a full separation between taxi drivers and passenger, which will provide an additional level of protection during journeys. The isolators have already been installed in many taxis and work is ongoing to install them in the rest of the Dubai Taxi fleet. The initiative is another step by RTA to safeguard the health and safety of the community.\Will private schools in UAE offer discounts on term fees?

With the remote learning continuing across all schools in the country till the end of the academic year, the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (Adek) has confirmed the readiness of private schools in the emirate to carry on with the distance learning programme to ensure continuity of education during this Covid-19 crisis. The education regulators said private schools across the emirate have been working diligently on their distance learning plans. Most schools have systems in place to support students when they require assistance with their assigned learning tasks.

Emirates resumes some passenger flights

Dubai’s flagship airline Emirates resumed select passenger flights after suspension, with the first flight taking off from Dubai International on Monday morning and landing in Frankfurt in the afternoon.
Flights to the other two scheduled destinations – Heathrow London and Zurich – were cancelled. The flights are operating from Dubai International’s Terminal 2.

42 Emiratis stranded in the UK flown back home for free

An Emirates flight on Monday brought back to Dubai the first batch of UAE citizens stranded abroad due to the coronavirus crisis. The 42 passengers – who were in the United Kingdom for medical and educational purposes – boarded the flight from London’s Heathrow Airport.

Pakistani consular services suspended

The Pakistan Consulate in Dubai has suspended consular services for two weeks in the wake of restrictions imposed by the Dubai government on the movement of people to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Issuance and renewals of passport and National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis remain suspended. Only emergency cases will be handled, the consulate said. Welfare work by the consulate will go ahead as planned to help the needy.

Dubai drive to sterilise over 800 mosques

The Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department in Dubai has launched a campaign to sterilise 800 mosques in the emirate. This is part of the emirate’s preventive and precautionary measures against the spread of Covid-19.

The move is part of the disinfection operations the department is conducting from April 1-11 using best in-class products. The programme has already covered 200 mosques. He praised the cooperation between various entities for the scheme.

Tele-consult your doctor even as you #StayHome

 Telemedicine or telehealth is playing a critical role in the UAE’s fight against Covid-19.
In support of the continuing “stay home” national campaign, UAE residents are communicating with doctors through telehealth services and online platforms.
This means, hospital and clinic call centres are receiving a flood of patient queries as they strategise and update their telemedicine services.
While some queries can be resolved through phone calls and video conferencing, other cases warrant more serious clinical intervention.

DHA’s WhatsApp hotline to clear residents’ doubts

The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has launched a hotline service on WhatsApp to respond to questions related to Covid-19. The service utilises artificial intelligence to strengthen communication with the public and give them fast and easy access to accurate and trusted information from official sources. It will help correct false information and debunk rumours by providing the public with the necessary knowledge to take preventive and precautionary measures.

It also provides answers to FAQs related to symptoms, prevention, procedures and many more topics, based on information approved by the DHA and the World Health Organisation. The new service also includes a live chat option with a DHA employee, who will provide official information. In the first few hours of its launch, the hotline received over 1,700 queries. To access the 24/7 service, simply add 800342 to your contacts and send “Hi” on WhatsApp.

Robots, drones aid UAE’s war on Covid

Unprecedented measures are taken by UAE authorities to curb the spread of Covid-19. A chopper flew over Abu Dhabi City on Monday morning with the message of ‘Stay Home’ while robots and drones empower the National disinfection Programme across the country.
The Abu Dhabi Civil Defence has rolled out TAF35 firefighting robot – an asset added to the force this February- for the sterilisation drive. A video shared by the Abu Dhabi Police shows TAF35 in action outside Mushrif Mall in the city.

The robot – a turbine mounted on a caterpillar vehicle and operated by remote control – is usually used for firefighting but is very efficient in places where there are infecting particles. The nozzle ring blasted disinfectant to cover vast areas.

Meanwhile, the Dubai Municipality is deploying drones for the sterlisation project. Also, the Dubai Police are using drones during patrols to spread word of awareness among the public. ‘Nawras’ drone patrol project is held in cooperation with the Drone Centre of the Dubai Police. The drones are equipped with cameras to capture images and loudspeakers to broadcast police’s messages and announcements for the public to stay home.

Khalifa Foundation, Roche support publishing of first international medical recommendations 

A team of cancer treatment specialists from around the world published the first international medical recommendations for treating cancer patients during the coronavirus pandemic. These recommendations are based on a study entitled: “A Practical Approach to the Management of Cancer Patients during the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic.” Emirati physician Humaid Al-Shamsi, Consultant of Oncology and Cancer Diseases, Associate Professor at the University of Sharjah and President of the Emirates Cancer Society, led the study, which was funded by the Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation and Roche.

25% discount on Term 3 school fees announced by education group

A UAE education group has announced a support package for parents, including a 25 per cent discount on term three fees. An official statement from the Taaleem group of schools said the discounts on term three fees were announced in response to the urgent needs of their parents suffering severe hardships and to provide immediate relief. Term three fees will be discounted across the entire Taaleem portfolio of schools in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi, said Alan Williamson, CEO of Taaleem. The school group is also making provisions for individual parent payment plans and re-enrolment packages.

Abu Dhabi civil defence use robot during sanitisation drive

The Abu Dhabi civil defence has used a robot during the ongoing national sterilisation programme being carried out to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.The Abu Dhabi Police have posted a video in which the civil defence teams, teaming up with Tadweer, can be seen handling the robot which sprays disinfectants and cleaning substances on the roads and public areas. The police patrols provide support to the civil defence teams during the operation. The Abu Dhabi Police and civil defence called on the public to stay in their homes and not to venture out unless it is necessary or an emergency.

Etihad Airways to identify at-risk travellers

Etihad Airways will partner with Australian company Elenium Automation to trial new technology which allows self-service devices at airports to be used to help identify travellers with medical conditions, potentially including the early stages of Covid-19. The UAE national airline will be the first airline to trial the technology, which can monitor the temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate of any person using an airport touchpoint such as a check-in or information kiosk, a bag drop facility, a security point or immigration gate.”The Elenium system will automatically suspend the self-service check-in or bag drop process if a passenger’s vital signs indicate potential symptoms of illness,” the company said.

Salons closed in Ras Al Khaimah

The Economic Development department in Ras Al Khaimah has ordered all salons, for men and women, to shut down – as part of the coronavirus precautionary measures in the UAE. The decision will come into effect from Monday, April 6, 2020 until further notice, according to a statement issued today. “The move is in line with the ongoing precautionary measures to ensure public health and reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection and transmission.”

3,000 low-income students receive learning devices 

A total of 3,000 students from low-income families received learning devices, thanks to the subscribers of Al Hamd Dirham Service who donated Dh300,000 to the distance learning initiative. The service – deducting Dh1 daily from the phone balance – is one of the donation schemes of the Sharjah Charity International (SCI) and has 30,000 subscribers, mostly philanthropists and kind-hearted people. “Al Hamd Dirham Service is one of the easily accessible donation services that are usually allocated to support those in need, and now helping families fighting the current coronavirus pandemic,” said Abdullah Mubarak AlDukhan, secretary-general of the SCI. More

By Ismail Sebugwaawo