‘You are our first line of defence’

Amidst the global outbreak of the COVID-19 strain, also known as coronavirus, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council has paid a visit to those who are at the forefront of the battle against the virus in the UAE.

During his visit on Sunday Sheikh Hamdan, paid tribute to those on the “first line of defence” during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I would like to thank all federal and local entities for your efforts to ensure our safety,” he said. “You are our first line of defence.

“Everyone should abide by the directives issued by relevant authorities with the aim of protecting the health of our community.”

In addition, Sheikh Hamdan praised the teams for their expertise and hailed their execution for working efficiently and quickly in order to contain the spread of the virus within the UAE.

Expressing his further thanks, Sheikh Hamdan shared a video on Twitter of his meeting with various experts and those at the forefront of preventing the virus from spreading.

“Our first line of defence,” he captioned the post. “Thank you for all your efforts.”

Dhs1.5 billion stimulus package

Earlier in the day on Sunday, Sheikh Hamdan announced a Dhs1.5 billion stimulus package to curb the effects of coronavirus on residents and businesses in the UAE.

The initiative was part of a directive from HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

It was stated the package would fall under “15 initiatives that serve the retail, trade, tourism & energy sectors in Dubai to reduce costs for the business sector and residents over the next 3 months”.

These plans include a reduction on the cost of living, specifically DEWA bills, in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Water and electricity bills are set to be reduced by 10 per cent for all residential, commercial and industrial Dubai customers, as well as reducing the deposits by 50 per cent. This will be in effect for three months.

The unveiling of the initiative came after major shutdowns in Dubai and Abu Dhabi were announced on Saturday.

It was announced via the official Dubai Media Office Twitter account “all events in Dubai should be suspended from Sunday 15 March 2020 [until] the end of the month”.

Similarly, all main tourist attractions in Abu Dhabi are remain closed until the end of the month.

Coronavirus labelled as a ‘pandemic’

On Wednesday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) determined the coronavirus outbreak to be a worldwide “pandemic”.

“WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock and we are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction,” the WHO director-general said.

Khalid Al Ameri coronavirus uae

“We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterised as a pandemic.

“Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death.”

According to a report from WHO, as of March 13 globally there have been 132,700 confirmed as 132 758 confirmed cases, over 80,000 of which are in China, and nearly 5000 deaths, 3200 of which are in China.

On Thursday March 12, it was announced my the Ministry of Health and Prevention there were 11 new cases of coronavirus in the UAE, bringing the total to 85. However, so far, there have been 17 confirmed recoveries, making the current number of active cases 68.

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