UAE reports 85 new coronavirus cases, 7 recoveries, as public sector begins work from home policy

Pink flamingoes feed in the mud flats at the Ras al-Khor Wildlife Sanctuary in Dubai, with the city skyline seen in the background, on March 18, 2020 as the site has been closed to the public amidst the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. (File/AFP)
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Updated 27 March 2020

UAE reports 85 new coronavirus cases, 7 recoveries, as public sector begins work from home policy

  • The Ministry of Health and Prevention said the new cases involved people from a number of countries in Europe, Africa and across the Middle East
  • The increase brings the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 333

DUBAI: The UAE has reported 85 new coronavirus cases and seven recoveries, state news agency WAM reported on Wednesday.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention said the new cases involved people from a number of countries in Europe, Africa and across the Middle East.

The increase brings the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 333.

The recovered cases are five Bangladeshi and two Pakistani nationals. The patients left the hospital after making a full recovery, bringing the total number of recovered cases in the country to 52.

Meanwhile al public sector workers in Dubai have been told to work from home from Sunday, March 29, as part of the ongoing efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus, state news agency WAM reported.

So far 24 government agencies have achieved 100 percent work from home with only staff remaining in the workplace where their role necessitates it.

Medical professionals and other adults are required by law to notify the authorities of any suspected cases, failure to do so can result in prosecution.

“The detection of one infected case compels the authorities to conduct a necessary investigation among all those in contact with this one case in order to identify the source of the infection and its aftermath,” The official spokesperson of the UAE health sector Dr Farida Al-Hosani said.

“In this we usually detect additional cases. It usually starts with a person coming from abroad who then transmits the virus to others around him or her.”

“The recent precautionary measures announced are aimed at protecting society, with the law to be applied only to violators of the UAE law on communicable diseases, under which violators are subject to jail terms and fines,” she added.

The UAE will impose overnight curfews as a temporary measure this weekend, when it carries out a nationwide disinfection campaign to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.
The regional business hub, which has confirmed 333 cases of the virus and two deaths, has not announced an official curfew or work suspension but has increasingly clamped down on movement.
Authorities announced that the UAE will restrict movement of traffic and people overnight from Thursday until Sunday. The restrictions will last from 8 p.m. (1600 GMT) to 6 a.m.
Only essential service workers would be allowed out and violators will face fines, a security forces spokesman said on Thursday.
Public transport including trams and metro services will be suspended, while private cars, cabs and delivery vehicles can operate outside those hours.

— With input from Reuters


UAE gives employers options over workers as coronavirus takes toll on business

Updated 3 min 42 sec ago

UAE gives employers options over workers as coronavirus takes toll on business

DUBAI: The UAE has offered private companies, who are either facing excess or shortage of labor, several options to cope with safety measures the government has implemented due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“In light of the current situation and upon agreement of both parties; it is permissible to temporarily modify work contracts during the ongoing precautionary measures,” the UAE’s Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation said in a statement.

A worker is also entitled, in agreement with the private employer, to unpaid leave should the business suspend its operations while the government’s precautionary measures remain in place.

Surplus workers meanwhile have to be registered on the Virtual Labor Market to avail of job opportunities outside an employee’s company, but must maintain ‘compliance with contractual commitments until the transfer to the other establishment is completed, the ministry said.

Temporary contracting has also been allowed by the UAE government throughout the recruitment of surplus workers from other companies, either as temporary transfers or part-time work.

The ministry likewise issued a guidance for private employers who have UAE nationals in their workforce, among which notifying them to of the agency’s commitment to “develop supportive bundles to ensure the continuation of nationals in the labor market.”

The ministry will also supervise and monitor the implementation of Ministerial Decree No. 212 of 2018, which involves the private-sector participation and job security UAE nationals.

On cases of job termination of UAE nationals that are lodged at Tatween Customer Happiness Centers, the ministry said they would evaluate those and present recommendations whether the concerned individuals would retain their positions or would be given opportunity with another employer.