UAE reports 2,950 new COVID-19 cases, 3 deaths

Emiratis shop at the Dubai grand market, in the Gulf city of Dubai, on Jan. 6, 2021. (AFP)
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Emiratis shop at the Dubai grand market, in the Gulf city of Dubai, on Jan. 6, 2021. (AFP)
Members of UAE Team Emirates, including Slovenian rider Tadej Pogacar (pictured), received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in the UAE. (WAM)
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Members of UAE Team Emirates, including Slovenian rider Tadej Pogacar (pictured), received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in the UAE. (WAM)
Members of UAE Team Emirates received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in the UAE. (WAM)
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Members of UAE Team Emirates received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in the UAE. (WAM)
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Updated 09 January 2021

UAE reports 2,950 new COVID-19 cases, 3 deaths

UAE reports 2,950 new COVID-19 cases, 3 deaths
  • UAE says 2,218 have recovered over the past 24 hours
  • Kuwait records 495 cases and 2 deaths, Bahrain reports 397 cases and 1 death

DUBAI: The UAE on Friday recorded 2,950 new coronavirus cases and three virus-related deaths.
Officials from the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) said the total number of cases since the pandemic began had reached 224,704, while the death toll rose to 697.
It also said that 2,218 people had recovered from the virus in the past 24 hours. The total number of recoveries is 201,396.
G42 Healthcare, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi-based Group 42, has conducted a genome sequencing study that has identified the genomic source of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The new expanded study contributes to monitoring and identifying patterns of spread and developments of the virus since its first cases were recorded in the UAE. The full study will be published after its preparation as a comprehensive research paper,” the artificial intelligence company said on its website.
Ashish Koshy, CEO of G42 Healthcare, said: “Our genomics technology and scalable expertise strongly support the UAE’s national genome project, while also underpinning our groundbreaking work during the pandemic, which has enabled us to create unmatched solutions that will change the face of the health care sector for the better.”
The study provides additional information and data that will help monitor changes of the virus genome, “which will positively affect the country’s capabilities in facing any future epidemics.”
MoHAP said that 53,859 people had received a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine during the past 24 hours, bringing the total number to 941,556, in line with the Emirate’s plan to inoculate more than half the country’s population, especially the elderly and individuals with chronic diseases.
Meanwhile, riders and staff members of UAE Team Emirates, the cycling team that won Tour de France 2020, received the first dose of China’s Sinopharm vaccine approved by MoHAP, following successful trials of the 4Humanity campaign sponsored by G42 Healthcare.

So far, 27 cyclists have received the vaccine, including Slovenian rider Tadej Pogacar, who won the 2020 Tour de France, along with 32 members of staff.
“As a UAE team we are enormously proud of the efforts the nation and its leadership have taken at every level to both combat the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and to be a leader in the efforts to bring life back to normal,” said Mauro Gianetti, principal of the UAE team.

During daily inspection tours, Dubai Economy issued a fine to one commercial establishment for failing to adhere to anti-COVID-19 measures. Inspection teams found 566 other businesses to be compliant.
The Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation, in collaboration with Abu Dhabi Police, distributed 150,000 face masks and more than 16,000 jackets to workers at industrial cities, as part of efforts to support community segments that were most affected by the pandemic.

Elsewhere, Kuwait reported 495 new coronavirus cases, raising the total number to 153,473. The death toll rose to 940 after two coronavirus-related deaths were reported in the previous 24 hours.

In Bahrain, one death was reported, raising the death toll to 354, while 397 new infected cases were confirmed.


Lebanon reintroduces some COVID-19 prevention measures

Lebanon reintroduces some COVID-19 prevention measures
Updated 42 min 24 sec ago

Lebanon reintroduces some COVID-19 prevention measures

Lebanon reintroduces some COVID-19 prevention measures
  • Mandatory vaccinations for all civil servants and workers in the health, education, tourism and public transport sectors

BEIRUT: Lebanon will impose a night-time curfew starting Dec. 17 on non-vaccinated people for three weeks.
And full vaccination will be made mandatory for all workers in several sectors due to concerns over the spread of coronavirus, the COVID-19 committee said on Wednesday.
Vaccination will be mandatory for all civil servants and workers in the health, education, tourism and public transport sectors as of Jan. 10, the committee said.
A new coronavirus variant found in South Africa and detected in several countries was determined as a variant of concern by the World Health Organization last week and has led to strengthening COVID-19-related restrictions around the world.


Vaccine coverage below 10 percent in seven eastern Mediterranean nations — WHO

Vaccine coverage below 10 percent in seven eastern Mediterranean nations — WHO
Updated 01 December 2021

Vaccine coverage below 10 percent in seven eastern Mediterranean nations — WHO

Vaccine coverage below 10 percent in seven eastern Mediterranean nations — WHO
  • Low-income countries, mostly in Africa, have received only 0.6% of the world's vaccines
  • "The longer that these inequities persist, the greater the chance of more variants,” said WHO’s regional director for the Eastern Mediterranean

CAIRO: An official at the WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office said on Wednesday seven countries in the region have not yet reached a threshold of 10 percent vaccination coverage.
These countries represent a high-risk setting for the emergence of further variants, Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO regional director for the Eastern Mediterranean, said at a news briefing in Cairo.
Low-income countries, mostly in Africa, have received only 0.6 percent of the world’s vaccines, while G20 countries have received more than 80 percent, Al-Mandhari said.
“The longer that these inequities persist, the greater the chance of more variants,” said Al-Mandhari. “Indeed, no one is safe until everyone is safe.”
So far, 24 countries may have reported cases of the new Omicron variant, said Abdinasir Abubakr, infection hazards prevention manager for the region.
Early Omicron cases suggest mild symptoms, added Richard Brennen, WHO regional emergency director in the region.
In terms of the response to the variant, he warned of complacency and COVID-19 fatigue and encouraged social-distancing measures.
However, he said social and travel curbs require risk assessment before implementation.
“While we understand that some countries locked down international travel, this has to be done on evidence and strong analysis,” said Brennen.
As of Nov. 29, over 16.7 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 309,500 deaths were reported across the Eastern Mediterranean region.


IAEA plans to step up inspections at Iran's Fordow plant

IAEA plans to step up inspections at Iran's Fordow plant
Updated 01 December 2021

IAEA plans to step up inspections at Iran's Fordow plant

IAEA plans to step up inspections at Iran's Fordow plant
  • The 2015 Iran nuclear deal does not allow Iran to enrich uranium at Fordow at all
  • Until now it had been producing enriched uranium there with IR-1 machines and had enriched with some IR-6s without keeping the product

VIENNA: The UN nuclear watchdog plans to increase the frequency of its inspections at Iran's Fordow plant after Iran started producing enriched uranium with more advanced machines there, the watchdog said in a report to member states on Wednesday seen by Reuters.
“The Agency has decided and Iran has agreed to increase the frequency of verification activities at FFEP and will continue consultations with Iran on practical arrangements to facilitate implementation of these activities,” the International Atomic Energy Agency report said, referring to the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant.

The IAEA said Iran had started the process of enriching uranium to up to 20 percent purity with one cascade, or cluster, of 166 advanced IR-6 machines at Fordow. Those machines are far more efficient than the first-generation IR-1.

Indirect talks between Iran and the United States on bringing both fully back into the 2015 Iran nuclear deal resumed this week after a five-month break prompted by the election of hard-line President Ebrahim Raisi.
Western negotiators fear Iran is creating facts on the ground to gain leverage in the talks.
Underlining how badly eroded the deal is, that agreement does not allow Iran to enrich uranium at Fordow at all. Until now it had been producing enriched uranium there with IR-1 machines and had enriched with some IR-6s without keeping the product.
It has 94 IR-6 machines installed in a cascade at Fordow that is not yet operating, the IAEA said in a statement.


Egypt removes access to government services for unvaccinated citizens

Egypt removes access to government services for unvaccinated citizens
Updated 01 December 2021

Egypt removes access to government services for unvaccinated citizens

Egypt removes access to government services for unvaccinated citizens
  • The move is the latest in a slew of preventive measures introduced by Egypt to contain the spread of COVID-19
  • Once vaccinated, citizens will be able to get a vaccination certificate that will allow them to enter government facilities

CAIRO: Egyptian citizens who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 will from Wednesday be denied access to all government services and buildings unless they can provide evidence of a negative PCR test.

The decision was taken by the Supreme Committee for Coronavirus Crisis Management, which said the rule would apply to the provision of government services in all governorates and ministries.

The Ministry of Local Development instructed governors to implement the committee’s decision and refuse entry to government departments for anyone who is unable to provide evidence that they have been fully vaccinated or submit a negative PCR test result.

The move is the latest in a slew of preventive measures introduced by Egypt to contain the spread of COVID-19 in places of work and study.

The Ministry of Health and Population said it had made vaccines available to all citizens and that they should get vaccinated to avoid being disadvantaged by the new ruling.

It added that people who had not yet had their jabs should visit one of the many vaccination facilities located at medical centers, subway and railway stations, or the mobile units that travel throughout villages and towns.

Once vaccinated, citizens will be able to get a vaccination certificate that will allow them to enter government facilities, the health ministry said.

Egypt implemented a rule on Nov. 15 that prevents unvaccinated government employees from entering their place of work.


Muslim Council of Elders resumes Dialogue of East and West to promote coexistence

Muslim Council of Elders resumes Dialogue of East and West to promote coexistence
Updated 01 December 2021

Muslim Council of Elders resumes Dialogue of East and West to promote coexistence

Muslim Council of Elders resumes Dialogue of East and West to promote coexistence
  • The council will hold its next regular meeting in Manama, which will coincide with the Dialogue of East and West for Human Fraternity 2022 conference
  • The Muslim Council of Elders is headed by the Sheikh of Al-Azhar, Grand Imam Ahmed Al-Tayeb

CAIRO: The Muslim Council of Elders has decided to hold the next round of the Dialogue of East and West in Bahrain after postponing it in March 2020 due to the pandemic.

The council is an independent international body based in Abu Dhabi and aimed at promoting peace, dialogue and tolerance. It is headed by the Sheikh of Al-Azhar, Grand Imam Ahmed Al-Tayeb, and its membership includes an elite group of Muslim scholars.

The council will hold its next regular meeting in the Bahraini capital, Manama, which will coincide with the Dialogue of East and West for Human Fraternity 2022 conference.

The imam expressed his appreciation to Bahrain’s people and the King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al-Khalifa for hosting the new edition of the dialogue.

He noted that the dialogue comes within the framework of strengthening relations between religious and cultural institutions in Islamic countries and their counterparts in Western societies, establishing common ground based on shared values and promoting coexistence.

Sheikh Abdul Rahman bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Khalifa, chairman of the Bahraini Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs and a member of the Muslim Council of Elders, expressed Bahrain’s excitement to host the meeting and the new edition of the dialogue.

Sultan Al-Romaithi, secretary-general of the council, said that arrangements for the dialogue are now being finalized and that the new edition will witness positive interactions between Western and Eastern scholars and intellectuals.

He explained that the council is in the process of nominating youths to participate in the dialogue who have the capabilities to become future leaders and ambassadors for the Muslim Council of Elders.

The council was founded on July 13, 2014 to spread a culture of peace in Muslim societies, reject violence and extremism, and confront hate speech.