COVID-19, an infectious disease, has killed thousands across the globe in a span of a few months.
Coronavirus is a group of viruses that causes respiratory diseases in humans and animals. MERS – Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and SARS – Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, first observed in China in 2002, are both the result of Coronavirus. There is much chaos in the world at this moment. The number of cases keep increasing and the death toll rises every day until a vaccine/cure is found.
There is a country combating the Coronavirus in an intriguing way, taking stringent measures and flattening the curve for COVID-19, United Arab Emirates (UAE). The nation has taken a blended civil-military approach that is worth taking inspiration from.
The authorities of UAE organized safety measures for prevention of the panic-broken mindset of the citizens during these tough times of COVID-19 pandemic. They administered laws focusing on the circulation of rumours about COVID-19, like ‘panic shopping’. These laws have been obligatory in order to keep civil control.
The first confirmed case in UAE was observed on January 29, 2020, making it to be the first nation in the Middle East for an active COVID-19 case. A 73-year old Chinese woman, who travelled from Wuhan, China to the country on a holiday with her family was patient zero. After that, there were multiple cases in a very short span of time. But the authorities successfully implemented social distancing rules and discussed the combat with the pandemic.
On 15th of March, as the threat to COVID-19 intensified, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai met HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces to confer about the measures for the COVID-19 pandemic in UAE. With their meeting, they sent an intimation to the people about the graveness of health and personal hygiene. They ensured that the nation’s assets are fully-utilized to outstrip the crisis.
Along with providing financial stimulus, the UAE government ensured stringent measures to curb the effect of COVID-19 pandemic. The National Emergency and Crisis and Disaster Management and Civil Aviation Authority planned to suspend all inbound and outbound passenger flights on March 23rd. This was implemented for two weeks in order to moderate all the foreign travellers to the UAE.
UAE has always been peculiar as well as unique in implementing as well as abiding law and order. To maintain social distancing, on March 25th, Roads and Transport Authority ordered that no more than two passengers will be allowed in a Dubai Taxi. On 28 March, Abu Dhabi crown prince Mohammed bin Zayed announced that a new testing site has opened. It is a mobile drive-through COVID-19 test centre by SEHA.
Ghadan 21 is Abu Dhabi’s accelerator programme envisioned for knowledge, economy and community. Abu Dhabi Executive Council (ADEC) announced a new set of initiatives to curb the spread of Coronavirus in UAE in response to the global pandemic. Many of which included stimulus packages for SMEs, waivers and rebates. The stimulus also included exemption of all the on-road vehicles from Abu Dhabi road tolls, until the end of the year 2020.
11 day Sterilisation Campaign in Dubai
As the virus spread increased, the authorities implemented an 11-day Sterilisation Campaign to control the spread of the virus. They also imposed night curfew after four days while the nation began disinfection.
On the very same day, the UAE Cabinet approved Dh16 million to address the effects of the Coronavirus outbreak. The total stimulus package summed up to Dh126 million.
A three-day National Sterilization Drive was promulgated on March 26. The drive was carried out till March 29th by the Ministry of Health and Prevention and the Ministry of Internal Coordination. UAE residents were recommended to stay inside their homes to ensure safety and social distancing of the common people. On the same day, Dubai Executive Council (DEC), including Abu Dhabi and Sharjah issued directives to implement 100% ‘Work-from-Home’ until the threat of the virus was deafened.
The UAE’s COVID-19 military, medical and civil defence program initiated a campaign that shut off and disinfected mosques and Islamic facilities as Ramadan was around the corner. The UAE Civil Defence planned for the country to be ‘pathogen-free’ by the Eid al-Fitr holiday celebrating the end of Ramadan on May 25. The authorities successfully made it happen to ensure the safety concerns of the citizens during the holy month of Ramadan.
The United Arab Emirates has successfully curbed the situation of the global pandemic within the nation. Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed, consulted with numerous world leaders concerning help and support to those in need. Countries like Italy, Serbia, Iraq, Pakistan, United Kingdom, Mauritania, with lack of resources received aid from UAE in order to combat the deadly virus. From delivering financial support to medical resources, UAE showed the true solidarity and kindness that lies in the culture of this nation.
The UAE authorities have constantly guided and safeguarded the health and wellness of their people. Residents across the country came in unison to sing the National Anthem from their balconies and windows to honour the healthcare workers. The ‘Together We Chant for UAE’ initiative was launched in coordination with Abu Dhabi Police.
As of now, private companies in UAE are open with one hundred percent capacity. Malls in UAE are welcoming people coordinating precautionary measures. The UAE is witnessing the flattening of the curve and people are switching to a modish normal routine. With the current help and support of the people and the authorities, UAE will soon include itself in ‘COVID-19 Free Nations’.
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