UAE takes first steps towards transition from pandemic

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Along with efficient damage control, the country is planning for its post-coronavirus stage.

Amer Sherif (L), head of ’s COVID-19 Command and Control Centre (left) and Tom Loney, epidemiology expert, attend a meeting on post-coronavirus plans in Dubai on May 21. (AFP)

ABU DHABI –The coronavirus pandemic in the UAE has served as an opportunity for the country to test its ability to deal with crises and damage control.

The UAE has had significant success in creating wealth, economic diversification and utilising its resources over the years, and its ingenuity helped it effectively deal with the global coronavirus pandemic. Now, the country has begun planning for its post-coronavirus crisis, after quickly mobilising to respond to the pandemic and largely protecting the nation from severe social and economic consequences.

Emirati news agency WAM reported that the government has begun a new strategy for the post-coronavirus phase that includes work plans and measures addressing the most urgent economic and social sectors.

A stewardess of an Emirates Airlines flight from London arrives at Dubai International Airport amid the coronavirus pandemic. (AFP)
A stewardess of an Emirates Airlines flight from London arrives at Dubai International Airport amid the coronavirus pandemic. (AFP)

One of the pillars of the strategy is the launch of a federal and local government package of economic initiatives to support various private sector corporations to reduce the fallout of the health crisis.

The UAE Central Bank announced a 100 billion dirham ($27 billion) economic plan to help contain the impact of the coronavirus outbreak by supporting banks and businesses. The central bank said it would provide 50 billion dirhams ($13.6 billion) through collateralised loans at zero cost to all banks operating in the UAE, while an additional 50 billion dirhams ($13.6 billon) would be freed up from lenders’ capital buffers.

Since the beginning of the crisis, Emirati leadership has pledged to provide food and medicine and ensure equal care to all residents.

The UAE was also quick to take tangible measures to secure its food stock and ensure market supply, including by issuing a law regulating food stocks during crises and emergencies.

The UAE has also taken steps to protect workers from the pandemic and ensure their basic health and safety.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan, UAE minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation, said in a letter to the director-general of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Guy Ryder, that the epidemic threatens the health, safety and well-being of all people throughout the globe, and requires a comprehensive global response. In his letter, he stressed his country’s commitment to protecting workers’ rights.

The pandemic has allowed the UAE to test the efficiency of the technological infrastructure it has worked for years to establish. Emiratis have had little difficulty switching to remote work in sectors and areas that allowed the change.

An advertisement in a street in Dubai, advising residents to remain at home due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. (AFP)
An advertisement in a street in Dubai, advising residents to remain at home due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. (AFP)

In another aspect of applied technologies and sciences, the UAE extended the circle of testing required to detect people with coronavirus to include the largest possible number of individuals from different social backgrounds.

In Dubai, a new technical tool was introduced to enable high-speed collective testing with laser beams within seconds.

The country previously announced the opening of a highly-developed laboratory to ensure more accurate diagnoses, launched by the leading Group 42 in the field of artificial intelligence and cloud computing-based in Abu Dhabi, and the BGI Group. The technology allows for tens of thousands of tests every day with “CRRT” technology.

With these methods, the UAE was also able to identify and mobilise available resources in order to provide tonnes of medical aid to dozens of countries in various continents, regardless of religion, race or politics.

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