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Dubai, April 5, 2020
Dubai, one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has announced a two-week lockdown as part of measues to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
"Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management, in coordination with the Command and Control Centre for Combating COVID-19, today announced the extension of the sterilisation programme to 24 hours a day across all areas and communities in the emirate to protect the health and safety of the community. The Committee also announced intensified restrictions on the movement of people and vehicles," WAM, the official Emirates news agency said.
The measures became effective from 8 pm on Saturday, April 4.
In addition, extensive medical tests will be conducted across densely populated areas of Dubai to ensure people are free from COVID-19 infection, the report said.
Under the measures, people must stay at home during the two-week period. Food retail outlets, such as cooperative stores and supermarkets, as well as pharmacies and food and medicine deliveries will operate as usual.
The committee directed all members of the community to comply with the new measures and cautioned that anyone found violating the instructions will face legal action.
The report said individuals will not be allowed to leave the house, except for essential purposes or if they are working in vital sectors exempted from the restrictions. These measures have been put in place to ensure people undertake trips outside the home in a planned and organised way, it said.
Individuals can leave their homes only for essential purposes and should wear a mask and gloves and must keep a safe distance from other people. Individuals can go out for needs such as buying food from cooperative stores, supermarkets or groceries; only one member of the family will be permitted to go out for this purpose.
Similarly, people can go out for buying medicines or getting medical assistance from healthcare providers like hospitals, clinics and pharmacies.
Employees working in vital estabishments can leave their house at any time of the day to commute to work. Establishments and sectors exempted from the restrictions include: Healthcare services (hospitals, clinics and pharmacies); Food supply outlets (Union Cooperative outlets, supermarkets, groceries); Delivery services (Food and medicine); Restaurants (operations limited to home deliveries only); Manufacturers of medicines and providers of healthcare and medical supplies; Industrial sector (only vital industries); Industrial supply chain for services and basic commodities; Water and electricity sector, petrol and gas stations and district cooling services; Telecommunications sector; Media sector; Airports, airlines, ports, shipping; Customs duty and border crossings; Public and private security services; and Municipality services and public and private service providers involved in garbage collection, sewage management and general cleaning and sanitation.
Also exempted are: Private and government sector organisations involved in combating the coronavirus (COVID-19); Public transport (buses and taxis only; metro and tram services will be suspended); Construction sector, subject to obtaining a permit from Dubai Municipality and the Permanent Committee for Labour Affairs; Support Sectors – (Employees working in these sectors are permitted to commute to work between 8.00 am and 2.00 pm); Banking and financial services (banks and exchange centres); Social welfare services; Laundry services (for permitted outlets); Maintenance services.
Alongside, Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced that its public bus services will be free of charge for individuals permitted to leave their homes during the extended sanitisation period. Dubai Taxi vehicles and franchised taxis will offer a 50 percent discount on their normal fares during this period.
The RTA said metro and tram services will be suspended during the sterilisation period.
In Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, the Department of Economic Development (ADDED) has extended the temporary closure of commercial centres, shopping malls, cinemas, electronic games arcades and other entertainment destinations until further notice.
The move is a continuation of the preventive and precautionary measures to combat the spread of the COVID-19.
The report said other measures announced earlier by the department, such as the suspension of valet parking services; closure of fitness and body building halls; and the banning of hookah (shisha) in restaurants and cafes will continue to remain in effect until further notice.
In Saudi Arabia, the Interior Ministry impsoed a 24-hour curfew on seven neighbourhoods in the Jeddah governorate as an additional measure to combat the spread of the virus.
The Jeddah-based English-language Arab News said the neighborhoods are: Kilo 14 South, Kilo 14 North, Al-Mahjar, Ghulail, Al-Qurayyat, Kilo 13, and Petromin. Entry and exit to these areas are forbidden. Residents can only leave their homes for health care and food needs during the period from 6:00 am to 3:00 pm.
Meanwhile, the Saudi Health Ministry has announced 140 new COVID-19 cases, two of which are related to travel, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 2,179 with 1,730 of them still active cases, the newspaper said.
While the number of recoveries increased to 420, four new deaths were announced, three of whom were non-Saudis, increasing total deaths to 29, it said.