Another record daily high as UAE confirms 3,552 new cases of COVID-19, 10 deaths

The UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention said the total number of cases in the country has reached 270,810, while the death toll stands at 776. (File/WAM)
The UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention said the total number of cases in the country has reached 270,810, while the death toll stands at 776. (File/WAM)
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Updated 23 January 2021

Another record daily high as UAE confirms 3,552 new cases of COVID-19, 10 deaths

Another record daily high as UAE confirms 3,552 new cases of COVID-19, 10 deaths
  • UAE says 3,945 have recovered over the past 24 hours
  • Kuwait records 533 cases and 1 death, Bahrain reports 332 cases

DUBAI: The UAE on Friday announced 3,552 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, as the number of infections once again hit new daily high. An additional 10 people died of conditions related to the disease.
Officials from the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHaP) said the total number of cases in the country has reached 270,810, while the death toll stands at 776. A total of 243,267 patients have recovered from the disease, including 3,945 in the past 24 hours.
Health authorities said they have administered 2.34 million doses of the vaccine, including 93,004 in the past 24 hours. With 23.65 doses administered per 100 people, the UAE has the second-highest vaccination rate in the world, after Israel. The country is aiming to vaccinate 50 percent of the population by April.
Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management announced changes to social-distancing rules that require the distance between tables at restaurants and cafes to be increased from two to three meters, and the number of people allowed to sit at a single table to be reduced from 10 to seven in restaurants, and four in cafes.
It also announced a new rule that limits the number of people permitted to attend weddings, social events and private parties to a maximum of 10 first-degree relatives. The rule, which will take effect from Jan. 27, applies to events in public venues such as hotels and in people’s own homes.

Dubai Economy and Dubai Sports Council have directed gyms and fitness centers to increase the distance between sports equipment, and between customers, from two to three meters.
During daily inspection tours, officials from Dubai Economy issued fines to 17 commercial establishments over failures to adhere to COVID-19 precautions. They included businesses that specialize in used furniture, textiles and fabrics, meat and mobile phones, and a management center that supports labor services.
Dubai Municipality said that following visits by its inspectors, five businesses were ordered to close, four were fined and warnings were issued to 18 for not complying with precautionary measures.
Dubai Tourism said that a number of live events in the emirate on Friday — including concerts by Egyptian singer Amr Diab at the Dubai International Stadium and Algerian-French singer Enrico Macias at Dubai Opera — were going ahead as planned, with stringent safety protocols in place.
The authority said on Thursday that all previously issued entertainment permits “will be on hold effective immediately,” and that it will continue to evaluate the situation with health authorities.
Also on Thursday, Dubai Maritime City Authority ordered the temporary suspension of entertainment activities on floating restaurants and other vessels.
Lt. Gen. Abdullah Khalifa Al-Marri, the commander-in-chief of Dubai Police, called on the public to fully comply with all preventative measures mandated by the authorities. During an interview broadcast by Dubai TV, he said that “everyone was compliant by 100 percent” but that the recent spike in infections could be attributed to an increase in gatherings of families and friends for special occasions.
Meanwhile the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) said that a 100 year-old Emirati woman, Sabha Salem Al-Derei, has received her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The company congratulated her and said that she is setting “an example for all citizens and residents.”
Elsewhere, Kuwait reported 533 new cases of COVID-19, raising the total in the country to 160,367. The death toll rose to 952 after one additional death was reported in the previous 24 hours.

In Bahrain the death toll stands at 366 after no new deaths were reported. The number of confirmed cases in the country increased by 332.


UN advance team arrives in Libya to monitor cease-fire

UN advance team arrives in Libya to monitor cease-fire
Updated 11 min 45 sec ago

UN advance team arrives in Libya to monitor cease-fire

UN advance team arrives in Libya to monitor cease-fire
  • The group of about 10 United Nations staff flew into the capital Tripoli on Tuesday
  • The unarmed observer team is also tasked with verifying the departure of thousands of mercenaries and foreign fighters

TRIPOLI: The advance team of a UN observer mission has arrived in Libya, which after a decade of conflict and chaos plans to hold elections in December, informed sources said Wednesday.
The group of about 10 United Nations staff flew into the capital Tripoli on Tuesday, they said, to monitor a cease-fire between the country’s two rival armed factions.
The unarmed observer team is also tasked with verifying the departure of thousands of mercenaries and foreign fighters who have been deployed in the oil-rich North African country and have so far shown no sign of leaving.
Libya was thrown into years of violent turmoil after a 2011 NATO-backed uprising toppled and led to the killing of long-time dictator Muammar Qaddafi.
The country has been split between the UN-recognized Government of National Accord, based in the capital and backed by Turkey, and an administration in the east supported by strongman Kalifa Haftar, with the backing of the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia.
The two sides reached a cease-fire in October, and UN-led talks since resulted in a new temporary administration elected in February, led by interim prime minister-designate Abdul Hamid Dbeibah.
A diplomatic source in Tunis said the advance team, made up from the UN mission in Libya and experts from UN headquarters in New York, arrived Tuesday via the neighboring country’s capital Tunis.
On its five-week mission it is to travel to Sirte, a city on the Mediterranean coast halfway between the eastern and western power centers, as well as to Misrata in the west and Benghazi in the east.
A diplomatic source in New York said the team is due to submit a report to the UN Security Council on March 19 on the cease-fire and the departure of foreign troops.
According to the UN, some 20,000 mercenaries and foreign fighters were still in Libya in early December. A January 23 deadline for their withdrawal passed without any signs of them pulling out.
The Security Council in early February ordered UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to deploy the vanguard of observers in Libya, following the October 23 cease-fire deal.
In a report late last year, Guterres himself had advocated an unarmed observer group be made up of civilians and retired military personnel from African Union, European Union and Arab League member states.


Turkey says it may negotiate maritime demarcation with Egypt if conditions allow

Turkey says it may negotiate maritime demarcation with Egypt if conditions allow
Updated 26 min 22 sec ago

Turkey says it may negotiate maritime demarcation with Egypt if conditions allow

Turkey says it may negotiate maritime demarcation with Egypt if conditions allow

ANKARA: Turkey and Egypt could negotiate a maritime demarcation agreement in the eastern Mediterranean if their ties, which have been strained, allow for such a move, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday.
Last month, Egypt announced the start of a bid round for oil and natural gas exploration and exploitation in 24 blocks including some in the Mediterranean.
Speaking at a news conference with his Georgian counterpart in Ankara, Cavusoglu said Egypt’s exploration bids had respected Turkey’s continental shelf and that Ankara viewed this positively. 


UAE confirms 2,692 new COVID-19 cases, 16 deaths in last 24 hours

UAE confirms 2,692 new COVID-19 cases, 16 deaths in last 24 hours
Updated 44 min 26 sec ago

UAE confirms 2,692 new COVID-19 cases, 16 deaths in last 24 hours

UAE confirms 2,692 new COVID-19 cases, 16 deaths in last 24 hours
  • The country’s COVID-19 caseload is now at 399,463

DUBAI: The UAE confirmed 2,692 new coronavirus cases and 16 deaths on Wednesday as the Emirates continues to expand its testing of citizens and residents for the early detection of the highly contagious disease.

The country’s COVID-19 caseload is now at 399,463, with a total of 1,269 fatalities related to coronavirus.

Health officials have conducted 218,351 additional COVID-19 tests overnight, state news agency WAM said, with the total number of tests now over 31 million.

The UAE leads the world in terms of conducting coronavirus tests relative to the size of population, with infection rates compared to the total tests being among the lowest in the region and the entire world, WAM earlier said.

It is also tops the global tally on COVID-19 vaccinations after implementing a vaccination campaign to for residents and citizens to achieve mass immunity. More than six million doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been provided and 3,614,070 people have been vaccinated to date, which accounts for 46.61 percent of the target population.


Pope says will make Iraq trip despite rocket attack

Pope says will make Iraq trip despite rocket attack
Updated 03 March 2021

Pope says will make Iraq trip despite rocket attack

Pope says will make Iraq trip despite rocket attack

VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis said Wednesday he still expected to make his historic visit to Iraq in two days time, after a rocket attack on a military base hosting US-led coalition troops.
"The day after tomorrow, God willing, I will go to Iraq for a three-day pilgrimage. For a long time I have wanted to meet these people who have suffered so much," the 84-year-old Francis said in his weekly Wednesday address.
The Argentine pontiff asked for prayers for the trip, the first ever by a pope to Iraq, through which he hopes to encourage the dwindling Christian community to remain in their ancient homeland while broadening his outreach to Islam.
"I ask you to accompany this apostolic journey with your prayers so that it may take place in the best possible way and bear the hoped-for fruits," the pope said.
He added: "The Iraqi people are waiting for us, they were waiting for Saint John Paul II, who was forbidden to go. One cannot disappoint a people for the second time. Let us pray that this journey will be successful."
At least 10 rockets slammed into a military base in western Iraq hosting US-led coalition troops earlier on Wednesday, security sources said, leaving one civilian contractor dead.
The attack on the sprawling Ain al-Assad base in Iraq's western desert comes after several weeks of escalating US-Iran tensions on Iraqi soil.
On Tuesday, a spokesman for Francis said the pope would be travelling by armoured vehicle and that he would not be meeting crowds.
"This is a particular situation, that's why the transports will all be in a closed vehicle, meaning it will be complicated to see the pope on the streets," spokesman Matteo Brunei said.
"There will be a number of meetings but none will be more than a few hundred people," he said.


New government takes oath before Kuwait emir

New government takes oath before Kuwait emir
Updated 03 March 2021

New government takes oath before Kuwait emir

New government takes oath before Kuwait emir

DUBAI: Kuwait Emir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah called on the executive and legislative authorities in his country to cooperate as a new government took oath before him, according to state-run news agency KUNA. 

Sheikh Nawaf received at his Bayan Palace the prime minister, Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah to swear-in as head of cabinet.
Ministers of the new government were also sworn in.

The previous government had resigned in January.
Oil Minister Mohammad Abdulatif Al-Fares, Finance Minister Khalifa Hamade and Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nasser Al-Sabah were reappointed in the new cabinet.