UAE-WHO talk Covid-19, Emirates scrubs planes

By Eudore R. Chand

ABU DHABI  9 March 2020: His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has re-affirmed the UAE’s full preparedness to continue to cooperate with the World Health Organisation (WHO), in fighting the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) and curbing the spread of its global outbreak.

This came as Sheikh Mohamed and Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, yesterday deliberated the cooperation between the two sides over a phone call where they reiterated the paramount importance of doubling international efforts to accelerate concerted action and synergistic efforts to contain the infection.

The two sides reviewed the latest developments in the endeavours to address the outbreak of the sometimes fatal virus and precautionary and preventive measures taken so far, with the WHO Director-General updating Sheikh Mohamed on the organisation’s efforts to expedite initiatives to develop effective Covid-19 treatments.

Sheikh Mohamed doubled on the UAE’s readiness to continue to stand by the WHO in its endeavours in line with the sheer humanitarian approach adopted by the UAE, which, Sheikh Mohamed said, is never limited by the geography, race, colour or religion of the beneficiaries under such tough circumstances.

The WHO’s chief commended the UAE for evacuating a number of Arab nationals from the epidemic-stricken Chinese province of Hubei to the newly established Emirates Humanitarian City in Abu Dhabi, praising the high medical standards pursued by the UAE in line with the WHO’s guidelines.

The international official also hailed the significant support provided by the UAE in support of combatting diseases and pandemics and improving living conditions across the world.

Emirates intensifies cleaning, disinfection across company’s fleet

DUBAI: Emirates airline has taken additional steps that exceed the requirements and regulations of the aviation industry to ensure the health and comfort of customers, and give them confidence and reassurance in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak around the world.

The airline said in a press statement that it is subjecting all its planes departing from Dubai to precautionary measures that include extensive and comprehensive cleaning and sterilisation of all passenger compartments.

After the latest medical discoveries indicated that the “Covid-19” virus was mainly transmitted by contact, Emirates focused on cleaning and disinfecting the surfaces of passengers and crews.

The airline uses certified chemicals to eliminate viruses, germs and fungi, leaving protective layers on the surfaces for a long time and preventing any subsequent infection with the virus. These material are also environmentally friendly, it said.

The cleaning process includes a comprehensive survey of all surfaces, from windows, tables, personal video screens, armrests, seats, seat controls, ventilation openings and upper cabinets in the cabin, to bathrooms, corridors, and the staff’s comfort areas, in addition to other routine procedures, such as changing headrest covers on All seats, print replacement and floor cleaning.

According to the carrier, the Boeing plane needs to be cleaned and sterilised to prepare for the next trip at the hands of team of 18 people working for an hour, while the Airbus A380 needs a team of 36 workers.

Image Source Reuters-Wam

On average, 248 planes undergo a comprehensive cleaning and sterilization within 24 hours. If it turns out that a plane has transferred a suspected case or a confirmed case with the “Covid-19” virus, the Emirates’ procedures go deeper than that, and the plane undergoes a deep cleaning and disinfection process that takes between 6-8 hours and includes spraying the interior with antiseptic materials, and replacing seat covers and upholstery in the affected area. Air filters in the cabin are also replaced.

It is noteworthy that all Emirates aircraft are equipped with HEPA air filters capable of removing 99.97 percent of viruses, germs, fungi and dust, which makes the cabin atmosphere clean, safe and comfortable for passengers and crew.

The company said it has provided its customers, via its global network, with more options and flexibility to adjust their travel dates without incurring fees for changing and re-issuing tickets. This grace policy applies to tickets issued during the period from 7-31 March.

Emirates Skywards

Within this context, “Emirates Skywards” provides more flexibility to its members affected by the spread of Corona virus due to restrictions imposed on travel and reducing the number of flights.

Members of the Platinum, Gold and Silver categories can maintain their categories by reaching 80 percent of the travel requirements for each category between March 31 and June 30 2020. In addition, members who booked their flights between March 1 and June 30 will benefit.

The company has made it clear that it puts the safety and welfare of its customers and employees at the top of its list of priorities, and since last January it activated its emergency response team to monitor the daily developments related to the outbreak of Virus Covid-19, and continuous communication with the relevant health and regulatory authorities to ensure appropriate action is taken.

Emirates Airlines continues to work closely with all its partners and industry-related bodies to ensure that the safety, comfort and well-being of travelers on its flights are constantly maintained.

Personal hygiene product supplies sufficient: Union Coop

Union Coop has released a statement noting that personal hygiene product supplies in the UAE are “sufficient”.

The statement noted a surge in the demand for hand sanitisers and other similar hygiene products, which prompted the Union Coop to “ration supplies” and take the “necessary steps to ensure a smooth shopping experience for consumers.”

Dr. Suhail Al Bastaki, Director of Happiness and Marketing Department at Union Coop, said, “Personal care supplies, especially hand sanitisers are available in sufficient quantities that meet the need of shoppers in all Union Coop branches.

He stressed that sanitiser prices have not risen, noting that such changes “violate Union Coop’s policy” and are against strategic objectives aimed to build a sustainable national economy.

No coronavirus cases among Emirati students abroad: Minister

No coronavirus cases have been confirmed among a total 1,251 Emirati students learning in universities overseas, according to Dr. Ahmed bin Abdullah Hamid Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills.

Al Falasi made the statement in response to the reported novel coronavirus outbreak all over the world, and the state of emergency declared by some countries.

“We affirm that there are no reported infection cases among our students learning in various countries all over the world due to the coronavirus outbreak. We have contacted our consulates and attachés in many international capitals and cities where Emirati students are studying, to maintain ongoing coordination and the daily monitoring of their health status and the impact of current conditions on their studies,” Al Falasi said.

“We are also communicating with official authorities and academic institutions in countries concerned to follow up the developments and decisions affecting our students, to undertake all relevant measures that will guarantee their safety. We also are communicating directly with the students to ensure that they are in a stable condition, meet their needs, and inform them of the health instructions that must be followed,” he added.

“We encourage Emirati students abroad to take all needed precautions and follow health and safety guidelines announced by the countries where they are staying,” he said.

Al Falasi also noted that his ministry has published several instructions for Emirati students abroad, most notably to avoid crowded places and postpone unnecessary travel. He thanked the consulate officials for ensuring the safety of Emirati students and citizens abroad.

The minister praised the UAE’s role in preventing the spread of coronavirus outbreak inside the country and around the world, noting that there are 1,251 Emirati students studying in 16 countries, 642 of whom are in UK, 327 in the US, 120 in Australia, and 26 in Canada, along with other countries.