Rumours of pesticides spraying in UAE flatly denied

By Eudore R. Chand

UAE 19 March 2020: The National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA), has denied all allegations and rumours spread via social networking sites surrounding the spraying of pesticides in UAE skies as a precautionary measure to combat Covid-19.

In a statement, NCEMA called on the public to obtain information and news from official sources and relevant authorities, and to avoid the sharing of misinformation and rumours. It added that individuals or bodies that instigate or further propagate the spread of misinformation will be pursued and legal action will be taken against them, said Wam.

Violating bans punishable by law: UAE Attorney-General

The UAE Attorney-General Dr. Hamad Saif Al Shamsi has said that individuals and bodies that violate imposed bans and restrictions by relevant authorities to contain the spread of coronavirus, Covid-19, will be punished under the law.

Under this framework, anyone travelling to the UAE from abroad should commit to a home quarantine period of 14 days and follow the instructions of relevant authorities. Violating home quarantine procedures, leaving their houses, and exposing the lives of others to danger shall be punishable by law, the Attorney-General affirmed.

Dr. Al Shamsi urged citizens and residents in the country to abide by the law and follow the instructions and decisions issued by relevant national authorities to ensure and protect their health and safety.

Covid-19 response fund launched

GENEVA: The United Nations Foundation and the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation have created a solidarity fund to support World Health Organisation-led efforts to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a statement by the WHO, the ‘Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund’ is a secure way for individuals, philanthropies and businesses to support the WHO and its partners in a massive effort to help countries prevent, detect, and manage the novel coronavirus – particularly those where the needs are the greatest.

The fund will enable the UN health body to send essential supplies such as personal protective equipment to frontline health workers. It will also help enable all countries to track and detect the disease by boosting laboratory capacity through training and equipment.

The WHO said that the funds raised will help ensure health workers and communities everywhere have access to the latest science-based information to protect themselves, prevent infection and care for those in need.

It will also accelerate efforts to fast-track the discovery and development of lifesaving vaccines, diagnostics and treatments, the UN health body added.

According to the Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan, at least US$675 million in funding is needed for critical response efforts in countries most in need of help through April 2020.

Expo Centre Sharjah moves to work-from-home

The Expo Centre Sharjah has announced that its employees will start to work remotely as part of the precautionary and preventive measures taken in light of the outbreak of the new coronavirus (Covid-19) and to maintain the safety of both the employees and customers.

The Expo Centre explained that the decision shall take effect as of Thursday, March 19 until April 1, 2020, stressing that all the employees have completed intensified training programs to use the remote working system.

This includes the mechanisms of holding meetings remotely via advanced technologies and conducting daily work through the available digital means, in addition to the availability of a round-the-clock technical support team to help the staff complete their tasks seamlessly and effectively.

Etihad announces further route network changes

Etihad Airways has announced further changes to its route network amid coronavirus developments.

In a statement, the UAE airline said, “Due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, Covid-19, and its continuing impact on air travel services globally, Etihad Airways continues to follow UAE and international government and regulatory authority directives and has implemented a series of consolidated network changes.”

It went on to note that such changes were also being carried out for the “safety and convenience” of its customers and staff, and to minimise operational disruption during this period.

Etihad noted that all flights to Baku, Azerbaijan have been suspended until 30th April.

Flights to Bahrain have been reduced from triple-daily to daily until 31st March, and will increase to twice daily from 1st April until 30th April.

All Cairo flights are suspended from 20th March until 30th April, the UAE airline added. It also noted that Athens flights were reduced from daily to four weekly (operating on Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays and Saturdays), beginning 1st April to 30th April.

The airline noted that flights to various Indian cities have been adjusted, with Bangalore and Hyderabad flights reduced from twice-daily to daily from 20th March until 30th April. India’s Chennai will also see a reduction from twice-daily flights to daily beginning 23rd March until 30th April.

As for Cochin, flights will be reduced to twice-daily instead of triple-daily beginning 20th March and up until 30th April, while flights to Delhi and Mumbai will be reduced from four daily flights to three daily flights from 19th March. This change in route network for Delhi will remain until 28th March, and Mumbai will carry out this change until 30th April, Etihad advised.

It went on to note that flights to Tokyo will be reduced from daily to four weekly (operating on Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays and Sunday) from 1st April to 30th April.

Jordan’s Amman will see a total of suspension of flights carried out until 30th April, Etihad Airways added.

Flights to Kazakhstan‘s capital, Nur-Sultan, will be reduced to one flight per week from 19th March until 31st March, it continued.

As for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, all flights to Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, and Medina have been suspended until 30th April. Another GCC country where flight network changes are impacted is Kuwait, with all flights being suspended until 31st March.

Flights to Kenya’s Nairobi, Etihad Airways noted, will all be suspended beginning 19th March and until 30th April. All flights were also suspended to Beirut, Lebanon, and Morocco’s Casablanca and Rabat until 30th April, the national airline added.

Flights to Muscat have been reduced from triple-daily to double-daily up until 30th April, while Manila, Philippines flights will all be suspended beginning from 18th March and until 31st March.

All flights to Serbia’s Belgrade will be suspended beginning 20th March until 30th April, the airline continued. It went on to note that flights to Singapore will be reduced from daily to four weekly (operating on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Fridays) from 1st April to 30th April.

All flights were suspended for Madrid and Barcelona, Etihad noted, adding that the suspension will remain until 30th April. Similarly, all Khartoum flights will be suspended beginning 18th March, and until 30th April.

All Geneva flights are to be suspended from 19th March and until 30th April, the airline continued. It went on to note that Bangkok flights will be reduced from triple-daily to double-daily – with the suspension of flights EY406/405 – from 1st April to 2nd May.

All Istanbul flights were also suspended until 30th April.

Previously announced network changes continue to remain in place, Etihad Airways added.

These include China’s Shanghai where all flights are suspended until 28th March. All Chengdu flights remain suspended until further notice.

All Hong Kong flights are suspended until 30th June, while Jakarta flights are reduced from double-daily to daily – with the suspension of flights EY472/471 – from 18th March until 30th June.

All flights to Italy’s Milan continue to be suspended until 30th April. As for Rome, flights EY85/86 are suspended until 30th April, while flights EY83/84 are suspended until 30th June.

Flights to Japan’s Nagoya will continue to be suspended until 30th June, while flights to Seoul, Korea, are reduced from daily to four weekly (operating on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays) from 30th March to 30th April.

Saudi Arabia reports 67 new cases of COVID-19

RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Health today reported 67 new cases of COVID-19 in the Kingdom.

According to the Saudi Press Agency, the new cases came from Britain, Turkey, Spain, Switzerland, France, Indonesia, and Iraq.

The announcement brings the total number of recorded coronavirus infections in the Kingdom to 238, six of whom recovered while the rest are currently isolated in health facilities, except one critical case.

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