ABU DHABI 31 March 2020: Food and medicine supply and other life essentials are in safe hands in the UAE whatever direction crisis may lead us in. The UAE is in a safe position and will continue to be so. We won’t hesitate to take any measure to ensure the safety of the society and its protection over the coming period, said His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
He was briefed on the latest precautionary and preventive measures and national initiatives taken at country level to combat Covid-19. This came during a virtual meeting involving H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, H.H. Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Adviser, and ministers and officials in charge of preventive health measures and education and economic initiatives taken to stem the impact of Covid-19.
“Their Highnesses the Rulers of the Emirates are closely following up the measures taken under these trying times and I have no doubt we will emerge victorious in this menacing battle against this challenge, God willing,” Sheikh Mohamed told the ministers and senior officials participating in the visual communication.
Sheikh Mohamed hailed the efforts taken by various state departments, extending special thanks to those “working in silence across the front lines, protecting our national security dignity, economy, and the health and safety of our society and ensuring its protection.”
“The UAE is proud of our citizens and residents living on our soil. We are proud they (residents) share with us our identity. It’s really impressive to hear our residents echoing the National Anthem of the UAE on social media platforms as the National Disinfection Programme is being carried out nationwide. God bless you all, and God Willing, we will survive these trying times.”
He highlighted the several positive developments that occurred over the past period, including compliance to the strict measures taken against the novel coronavirus and the successful application of the distance learning system. “These are all optimism-inspiring developments that assure us all that we will eventually defeat this virus.”
“The Coronavirus crisis has placed the government, the private sector and the entire world in face of an enormous challenge, which is to protect people’s health on the one hand and to keep business mobility alive in our institutions while ensuring public services remain unaffected.”
“We will never hesitate to take any measures against any potential threat to people’s life. At the same time, we won’t let the development grind to a halt. We will continue to address this critical period in a prudent, cautious manner until we survive these difficult times, by the end of which, our country will turn to be more powerful than it has used to be.”
Sheikh Mohamed listened to a comprehensive briefing from the ministers of economy, health & prevention and education as well as Obaid Rashid Al Hassan Al Shamsi, Director-General of the National Emergency and Crisis and Disasters Management Authority.
220,000 covid laboratory tests
“The ministry of health had carried out more than 220,000 laboratory tests across the UAE for COVID-19. This makes the UAE’s testing coverage at over 22,900 test per million people; the second highest test density in the world. The tests have been conducted in collaboration with various authorities in the country, as part of the government’s efforts to ensure the safety and wellbeing of citizens and residents and to curb the spread of COVID-19.,” said Dr. Abdul Rahman bin Mohammad bin Nasser Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention.
He underlined MoHaP’s determination to continue to take all measures conducive to ensuring the safety of their front-line medical cadres.
Hussain bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education, underlined the successful implementation of the distance learning system, extending thanks to all parents, teachers and pupils for their collaboration and compliance to the ministry’s instructions to render the programme a success.
There are 280,000 male and female pupils in UAE government schools, including KGs, 90 percent of whom have used the Ministry’ Smart Learning Portal during the first of week of the system’s application.
“The ministry has purchased 30,000 computer sets for those segments of students who don’t have computer facilities available at home. We’ve also purchased and delivered thousands more sets for several national institutions. By the beginning of April, all those pupils who don’t now have access to these devices will be having them at home,” the minister affirmed.
On the Emiratis studying abroad, who are estimated at 4,000, the minister said, “Most of Emirati students abroad have returned home safe and they have been subjected to precautionary measures and placed under quarantine to ensure their protection,” the minister said noting that the Ministry is in constant contact with these students to complete their distance learning programme.
Support for SMEs
Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, said there are three priorities the ministry is working on at present: ensuring sustainable food supplies; the tourism & hotel profile; and SMEs.
“Nine ad hoc committees and taskforces have been formed to address these challenges, ” he explained For his part, Al Shamsi said the National Emergency and Crisis and Disasters Management Authority is working harmoniously with all sectors across the nation on addressing the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.