UAE extends national sterilization program in precautionary measure against coronavirus

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Updated 04 April 2020

UAE extends national sterilization program in precautionary measure against coronavirus

  • Local authorities in each emirate will develop sterilization plans and implement them across the cities
  • The program will continue to be scheduled from 8 p.m. until 6 a.m. on a daily basis

DUBAI: The UAE’s National Sterilization Program will be extended as part of the country’s precautionary measures to combat the spread of coronavirus, state news agency  WAM reported on Saturday.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention and the Ministry of Interior said local authorities in each emirate will develop sterilization plans and implement them across the cities.

The program will continue to be scheduled from 8 p.m. until 6 a.m. on a daily basis. People are allowed to leave their homes during daytime. No further details were given on the extension of the program.

The UAE confirmed 240 new cases of coronavirus on Friday, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 1,264.

The health ministry also reported the death of a 51-year-old Asian man who had underlying health problems, bringing the total number of deaths from the virus to nine.

The ministry added that 12 patients had recovered from the virus, bringing the total number of cases who have recovered to 108.


Russian mediation reopens major highway in NE Syria

Updated 26 May 2020

Russian mediation reopens major highway in NE Syria

  • Syria records 20 new cases of coronavirus in largest single-day increase

BEIRUT/DAMASCUS: Traffic returned to a major highway in northeastern Syria for the first time in seven months on Monday, following Russian mediation to reopen parts of the road captured last year by Turkey-backed opposition fighters.

Syrian Kurdish media and a Syrian Kurdish official said several vehicles accompanied by Russian troops began driving in the morning between the northern towns of Ein Issa and Tal Tamr. 

The two towns are controlled by regime forces and Syrian Kurdish fighters while the area between them is mostly held by Turkey-backed opposition fighters.

Turkish troops and allied Syrian fighters captured parts of the highway known as M4 in October, when Ankara invaded northeastern Syria to drive away Syrian Kurdish fighters. The M4 links Syria’s coastal region all the way east to the Iraqi border.

Four convoys will drive on the M4 every day with two leaving from Tal Tamr and two from Ein Issa, according to the Kurdish ANHA news agency. The report said a convoy will leave from each town at 8 a.m., and another set of convoys will do the same, three hours later.

The ANHA agency added that the opening of the highway will shorten the trip between the two towns as people previously had to take roundabout, side roads.

“This is the first time the road has been opened” since October, said Mervan Qamishlo, a spokesman for the Kurdish-led and US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.

Russia, a main power broker with Turkey in Syria, mediated the deal to reopen the highway, he said. Russia and Turkey back rival groups in Syria’s nine-year conflict.

Coronavirus cases

Syria reported 20 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday, the largest single-day increase to date.

The war-torn country has recorded 106 infections and four deaths so far, and new cases have increased in recent days with the return of Syrians from abroad.

Syria has kept an overnight curfew in place but has begun to open some of its economy after a lockdown. Doctors and relief groups worry that medical infrastructure ravaged by years of conflict would make a more serious outbreak deadly and difficult to fend off.