Part of a Dhs1.5 billion stimulus package

Amidst the worldwide outbreak of coronavirus, a new initiative has been announced by the Dubai government in order to curb the affects of the virus on residents and businesses.

As  part of a directive from HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, a Dhs1.5 billion stimulus package was announced by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai.

In a post to his official Twitter account, Sheikh Hamdan 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 percent. This will be in effect for three months.

As well as reduction in DEWA bills and deposits, hotels are now exempt from postponement fees for tourism and sports activities. Other fees including classification fees to hotels, freezing ticket fees, permit issuance and government fees on recreational and business activities will also be frozen.

In addition, there will be a 90 per cent reduction on fees implemented for those submitting customs documents, as well as a cancellation on the Dhs50,000 bank guarantee or cash needed to exercise customs clearance activity.

“Local commerce will benefit from the cancellation of the 25% down payment for requesting the installment of government fees for licensing and renewing licenses, in a move that seeks to reduce financial burden on SMEs,” Sheikh Hamdan said.

This stimulus package aims to offset any undue stress on business and UAE residents amidst the global coronavirus pandemic.

Major Abu Dhabi and Dubai shutdowns

Over the weekend major shutdowns were announced in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

On Saturday evening, 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”.

Meanwhile all main tourist attractions in Abu Dhabi are to be 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.

Take a look at some tips on how to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

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