WAM Report: UAE efforts to combat COVID-19 spread

ABU DHABI, The UAE has shown considerable efficiency in adopting preventive measures to limit the spread of coronavirus. It even evacuated Arab students stranded in Wuhan, China.

The UAE is relying on the community to follow and commit to the instructions and procedures of relevant authorities that aim to counter the virus.

In this report, the Emirates News Agency, WAM, is monitoring the key decisions and procedures implemented by the UAE to face this global crisis.

The country has proactively adopted strict procedures at its borders and utilised thermal detection scanners and health warning systems, as well as prepared qualified medical teams who are available around the clock.

The UAE has also supported the health sector by implementing an epidemiological investigation system, providing strategic reserves of basic medical supplies required for the early detection of the virus, implementing quarantine and medical isolation campaigns, and constructing fully-equipped isolation rooms.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention pointed out that it has examined 127,000 cases in the country as of 17th March 2020.

In terms of the education sector, the country has taken several preventive measures to ensure that the school environment is healthy and without the conditions that can help spread the virus. These measures include instructing schools and higher education institutions to begin spring break early.

The Ministry of Education has implemented several preventive measures that include instructing all students and their families, as well as employees in the education sector returning to the country after travelling, to stay at home for 14 days and undergo the required medical examinations.

The UAE cancelled many public activities and events, with the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development announcing the closure of its cultural centres and the cancellation of all cultural events at theatres.

The UAE also decided to suspend prayers in mosques, chapels, places of worship and their facilities throughout the country for a period of four weeks, and called for the postponement of all weddings and social events, as well as hospitality in hotels and homes for a period of four weeks.

These preventive measures were also adopted by all national sporting authorities and organisations to protect the community and limit the spread of coronavirus. Therefore, some competitions were postponed and others were cancelled. Entertainment venues, electronic games outlets and movie theatres are temporarily closed as well.

Relevant national authorities issued decisions stipulating the prohibition of hookahs in coffee shops, along with the temporary closure of public parks and beaches, and the installation of thermal detection systems at the entrances of large malls and public areas.

The General Civil Aviation Authority suspended all flights to and from several countries until further notice, in light of related global assessment studies.

The UAE Government launched a remote working system for some categories of employees within federal authorities for a period of two weeks, from 15th to 26th March, which could be renewed.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation suspended the issuance of all types of work permits, including for domestic workers, from 19th March 2020, until further notice.

Many federal and local authorities halted services that require the physical presence of the public and replaced them with smart services.

The UAE temporarily halted the issuance of all types of entry visas, with the exception of diplomatic passports holders, while the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship temporarily suspended the use of national identity cards for the UAE and Gulf Cooperation Council, GCC, citizens.

The country is also preventing the entry of holders of valid residency permits who are outside the country from 19th March 2020, for a period of two weeks, which may be subject to renewal.

Source: Emirates News Agency