Disinfection extended, free rides, mall closures…

By Eudore R. Chand

UAE 5 April 2020: The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) yesterday announced its public bus services will be free of charge for individuals permitted to leave their homes during the extended disinfection period.

Dubai Taxi vehicles and franchised taxis will in addition offer a 50 percent discount on normal fares.

RTA said metro and tram services will be suspended during the sterilisation period, said Wam.

Legal action to be taken against violators

Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management, in coordination with the Command and Control Centre for Combating Covid-19, yesterday 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.

The measures will be effective from 8 pm on Saturday, 4 April, 2020 for a period of two weeks, subject to renewal. In addition, extensive medical tests will be conducted across densely populated areas of Dubai to ensure members of the community are free from Covid-19 infection.

The intensified measures require everyone to stay at home during this period. Food retail outlets, such as Union cooperative stores and supermarkets, as well as pharmacies and food and medicine deliveries are allowed to operate as usual.

The committee said the measures, effective from Saturday, will be implemented in cooperation with other entities working to combat the pandemic, including the Command and Control Centre for Combating Covid-19, to ensure the highest levels of protection and prevention. 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.

Don’t leave your home

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.

Exceptions from restrictions for individuals (general public) Individuals are permitted to leave home only for essential purposes as outlined below. All people leaving home should wear a mask, gloves and ensure they keep a safe distance from others.

Members of the public are allowed to go out for:

  • Essential needs such as buying food from food supply outlets (Union Cooperative stores, supermarkets and groceries); only one family member is permitted to leave the house for this purpose.
  • Buying medicines / getting medical assistance from healthcare service providers like hospitals, clinics and pharmacies Covid-19 tests.

Employees permitted to leave the house:

  • Employees working in the below vital sectors are exempted from restrictions and permitted to leave their house at any time of the day to commute to work.

Vital Sectors exempted from restrictions (24 hours a day):

  • 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
  • Municipality services and public and private service providers involved in garbage collection, sewage management and general cleaning and sanitation
  • 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 am and 2 pm.

  • Banking and financial services (banks and exchange centres)
  • Social welfare services
  • Laundry services (for permitted outlets)
  • Maintenance services

Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management stressed that all members of the community are strictly required to adhere to these guidelines to safeguard the health and wellbeing of the community. Anyone violating the restrictions will face stringent legal action. The compliance of all people is vital to the success of measures to combat the virus and ensure the highest levels of protection.

New facilities added to disinfection plan

The Ministry of Health Prevention (MoHAP) and the Ministry of Interior (MoI), have announced the continuation of the National Disinfection Programme’, as part of the preventive and precautionary measures taken by the UAE to contain Covid-19.

The two ministries said new facilities and establishments would be added to the disinfection plan in all emirates of the country. The programme will be subject to periodic assessment as per recommendations approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO), and established international practices.

This decision comes in light of the successful implementation of the programme, which was launched on Thursday, 26th March.

Local authorities in each emirate will be able to draw and implement disinfection plans that will accommodate the requirements of its own facilities and establishments.

The sanitisation drive will be carried out daily from 8 pm until 6 am the following morning, and restrictions on the movement of traffic and the public will continue during this period and resume as normal in daylight.

The two ministries stressed the importance of cooperation by the general public so as to facilitate the work of teams.

All community members were urged to stay home from 8:00 pm until 6:00 am the following day, unless absolutely necessary to obtain essential food supplies or medicine or perform essential jobs in vital sectors. Energy, communication, health, education, security, and the police, along with the military, and the postal, freight, pharmaceutical, water, food, civil aviation, airport, passport, finance and banking, and government media sectors, in addition to the services sector, which includes gas stations and construction projects, were included in the list of vital sectors. Relevant categories will be verified by the authorities through business cards or ID cards.

Closure of shops, malls, cinemas extended

The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (AD-DED) has issued a new circular extending the temporary closure of commercial centres, shopping malls, cinemas, electronic game halls (arcades) and other entertainment destinations in the emirate of Abu Dhabi until further notice.

Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa, Chairman of AD-DED, said that the newly issued circular is being implemented in cooperation and coordination with the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) and the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHaP).

The move serves as a continuation of the preventive and precautionary measures being implemented to help combat the spread of the Covid-19 and further maintain the health, safety and security of community members.

Al Shorafa added that other circulars that AD-DED has released, including 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.

The new circular directs all licensed companies and establishments in Abu Dhabi to continue to comply with the order to remain closed, which means not to open their doors to the public offering their products and services. The temporary closure of these facilities helps reduce the occurrence of human gatherings, which can spread the Covid-19 virus. AD-DED will be carrying out inspection visits to ensure compliance with this order and monitor any violations being made.

Facilities and establishments are ordered to comply and adhere to the directives in the circular–starting from the issuance date of the order and until further notice. Continuous coordination is also urged between these facilities with relevant authorities, especially with concerns related to the health and safety of community members of Abu Dhabi and the rest of the UAE.

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