UN steps up COVID-19 measures at Syrian refugee camps in Jordan

UN steps up COVID-19 measures at Syrian refugee camps in Jordan
Syrian refugees line up to register their names at an employment office, at the Azraq Refugee Camp, 100 kilometers (62 miles) east of Amman, Jordan. (File/AP/Raad Adayleh)
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Updated 12 September 2020

UN steps up COVID-19 measures at Syrian refugee camps in Jordan

UN steps up COVID-19 measures at Syrian refugee camps in Jordan
  • The UNHCR confirmed three cases in the country’s largest camp for Syrian refugees, Zaatari, near the border with Syria, and two cases in a smaller camp, Azraq
  • The infections in the two camps that house a total of around 120,000 refugees were the first confirmed cases since the pandemic was first reported in the kingdom last March

AMMAN: The UN refugee agency is stepping up efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 among tens of thousands of Syrians in camps in Jordan after the first cases were confirmed last week, the head of the agency in the country said on Saturday.
The UNHCR confirmed three cases in the country’s largest camp for Syrian refugees, Zaatari, near the border with Syria, and two cases in a smaller camp, Azraq.
The infections in the two camps that house a total of around 120,000 refugees were the first confirmed cases since the pandemic was first reported in the kingdom last March.
“The developments this week have obviously been a worrying situation for all, but especially for refugees living in the camps. Crowded spaces and cramped living conditions make social distancing difficult,” said Dominik Bartsch, the UNHCR representative in Jordan.
The refugees who tested positive for COVID-19 have been sent to an isolation area set up by the Jordanian government near the Dead Sea while families of those in contact with them have been quarantined inside the camp, the UN agency added.
Jordan’s health ministry is, meanwhile, conducting thousands of tests, restricting movement in and out of the camps and training medical staff, Bartsch said.
The infections in the camps come at a time when COVID-19 cases been rising sharply in the country as a whole, since the start of the month.
Jordan is a major host country for Syrian refugees who have fled an almost decade-long civil war in their homeland. There are about 655,000 UN-registered Syrian refugees in the kingdom.


UAE confirms record 3,529 new COVID-19 cases plus 4 more deaths

UAE confirms record 3,529 new COVID-19 cases plus 4 more deaths
Updated 22 January 2021

UAE confirms record 3,529 new COVID-19 cases plus 4 more deaths

UAE confirms record 3,529 new COVID-19 cases plus 4 more deaths
  • Dubai Economy issued 2,100 fines and warnings, and closed down 175 businesses in 2020
  • Kuwait records 570 cases, Oman reports 169 cases and 1 death

DUBAI: Authorities in the UAE on Thursday recorded 3,529 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, the highest daily count to date, and four more deaths related to the disease.
Officials from the Ministry of Health and Prevention said the total number of cases in the country has reached 267,258, while the death toll stands at 766. A total of 239,322 patients have recovered from the disease, including 3,901 in the past 24 hours.
Dubai Economy, the emirate’s economic development authority, said it carried out 140,000 inspection visits last year, as a result of which it issued 2,100 fines and warnings, and closed down 175 businesses for failing to comply with precautionary measures designed to slow the spread of the virus.

During their latest daily inspection tours, the authority’s officials ordered one business to close, and issued 23 fines and two warnings for not following the health precautions.
Meanwhile Dubai Municipality announced it has stepped up its inspection campaigns. It added that five businesses were ordered to close, 18 were fined, and warnings were issued to 31 for lack of compliance with precautionary measures.
Dubai Tourism said it has issued more than 200 violation notices during the past three weeks and closed down about 20 establishments. It also announced that all previously issued entertainment permits are “on hold, effective immediately,” and added it will continue to evaluate the situation in consultation with the health authorities.
The General Department of Punitive and Correctional Institutions in Dubai Police has started to give the coronavirus vaccine to inmates of penal and correctional institutions, as part of the emirate’s efforts to achieve acquired immunity, according to a report by state news agency WAM.

Inmates reportedly said they were happy to be vaccinated and praised Dubai Police and medical staff in the prisons for providing them with the vaccinations, medical advice and check ups.
The Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination, in cooperation with the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company, has launched a campaign to vaccinate people with disabilities, and their families. The effort will begin at the organization’s headquarters in Abu Dhabi, before expanding to Al-Ain and Al-Dhafra regions.

Abdullah Abdul Ali Al-Humaidan, the organization’s secretary-general, said that the vaccine is the safest and most effective way to limit the spread of COVID-19 and maintain the health and safety of the public.
Meanwhile, Umm Al-Quwain’s Executive Council informed all government agencies in the emirate that anti-coronavirus measures due to be implemented from Jan. 24 are being amended. The notice said all government employees will be required to take a PCR test every seven days, at their own expense, if they have not received the required two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. This also applies to outsourced employees and public-service companies.
The council also urged all government agencies in the emirate to encourage their employees and workers to get the vaccination, which is available to everyone free of charge.
Elsewhere, Kuwait reported 570 new cases of COVID-19, raising the total in the country to 159,834. The death toll remains at 951, with no additional deaths reported in the previous 24 hours.

Oman’s health ministry confirmed 169 new cases and one additional death, bringing the national totals to 132,486 and 1,517, respectively.

In Bahrain the death toll stands at 366 after no new deaths were reported. The number of confirmed cases in the country increased by 305.