News update: Thank you heroes, Sheikh Mohammed tells front-line defenders in UAE against coronavirus
In a video message to medical professionals in UAE, he thanked the heroes
Dubai: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, praised the hard work and dedication of UAE first line of defenders against coronavirus (COVID-19).
In a tweet, Sheikh Mohammed said: “Thank you to all of those in the first line of defense. Thanks you for your sacrifices, sleepless nights, and efforts made for the sake of the nation. You are the true nation protectors and our loyal soldiers. I call on everyone to thank them for their strenuous and sustained efforts being made around the clock. To all doctors, nurses, paramedics and administrators in our health sector, Thank You.”
Read more at: Gulf News
ABU DHABI, 13th March 2020 (WAM) – Follow health and hygiene protocols laid down by WHO and governments, the English language daily ‘Gulf News’ urged in an editorial today.
With Covid-19 being declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation, there’s understandably a lot of anxiety, panic and paranoia around the world over the rapidly spreading virus.
While it’s safe to fly out if you absolutely need to, this will help minimise the risks of spreading infections, especially among the more vulnerable section of the population.
Similarly, panic-buying of hand sanitisers, spray disinfectants and wet wipes is irresponsible let’s remember that for any of us to remain safe and infection-free, it’s equally important for our friends and neighbours to be infection-free too! And the best way to do that is to follow the health and hygiene protocols laid down by WHO and governments and remain vigilant at all times. Since the symptoms for coronavirus are very similar to the common flu, it’s essential that we don’t ignore any cough and cold conditions and take adequate precautions while commuting or interacting with others.
With such simple but critical steps and avoiding unwarranted risks, we will win the battle against coronavirus.
Preventive measures will be taken upon return to the country.
Dubai: The Ministry of Health and Community Protection has called on citizens and residents to avoid travelling due to the current situation of the coronavirus outbreak and its spread in several countries.
The Ministry of Health in its statement revealed that if travel is a must, preventive measures will be taken upon their return to the country.
Decision will be taken by responsible officials according to assesments done upon return of the passengers.
Read more at: Gulf News
Early start of spring vacation in UAE, states Ministry of Education.
Abu Dhabi: The UAE Ministry of Education announced late on Tuesday the early start of spring vacation for both public and private schools, colleges and universities and a distance learning initiative.
The move forms part of “preventive and precautionary measures to ensure the safety of students and is in line with efforts and measures taken at the national level, aimed at reducing the spread of the Coronavirus (Covid-19),” according to an official statement.
The announcement states that “schools and higher education institutions are to close for four weeks, starting Sunday.”
Read more at: Gulf News
‘Measurable slowdown’ in business prompts airline to offer leave options.
Dubai: Emirates Group has started to feel the brunt of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 with a “measurable slowdown” in business, and has offered staff the option of taking paid or unpaid leave.
On Sunday, an Emirates spokesperson told Gulf News: “We can confirm the email was sent to our employees around unpaid leave. Point to note – the leave we are asking employees to take is voluntary. It is at the employee’s discretion if they want to take it or not.”
The internal email was sent out recently to all Emirates staff, which includes more than 21,000 cabin crew and 4,000 pilots, according to a Reuters report.
“A particular challenge for us right now is dealing with the impact of the COVID-19. We’ve seen a measurable slowdown in business across our brands, and a need for flexibility in the way we work,” said the email, which was quoted in Reuters. The email also encouraged staff who have “accrued a significant balance of annual leave” to take paid leave.
Read more at: Gulf News
Ministry of Health and Prevention explains it may cause stress on the respiratory system.
Dubai: The Ministry of Health and Prevention on Saturday advised the public not to wear the N-95 facial mask as it may cause stress on the respiratory system and lead to future respiratory diseases.
Banks asked to reschedule loans and reduce fees and commissions.
Dubai: The Central Bank of UAE (CBUAE) on Saturday asked banks to reschedule loans and reduce fees and commissions as part of measures to mitigate the economic effects of the coronavirus outbreak.
“Financial institutions are expected to implement measures such as re-scheduling of loans contracts, granting temporary deferrals on monthly loan payments, and reducing fees and commissions for affected customers,” Reuters quoted a central bank said statement .
Read more at: Gulf News
KHDA issues circular calling for stringent steps to safeguard kids against the virus.
Dubai: In an effort to safeguard students and others in the UAE against the novel coronavirus, called Covid 19, which has infected more than 84,000 worldwide, Dubai Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) issued a circular on Saturday morning calling for the ban of activities such as field trips and gatherings that may comprise students.
Read more at: Gulf News
Abu Dhabi: When the going gets tough, the tough get going. This was proven by a group that I am a part of called the “Our Irinjalakuda”, a Facebook group based out of Irinjalakuda in Thrissur, India.
During the recent Kerala floods, the group with around 60,000 members and about 200 active volunteers formed a team and got to work. None of them were experienced or experts in disaster management. But, they lead, took orders, guided and acted forgetting their caste, creed, political party or ideologies.
The momentum they generated to coordinate this activity triggered and transformed to the group’s first relief support operation in the Alappuzha district, which was one of the heavily affected areas.
A small team left with a pickup truck, loaded with essential food and medicine supplies, to personally distribute to and support those in need. However, they didn’t know what was in store for them over the next few days.
All the dams and rivers started overflowing and the water level started increasing. As the paddy fields got flooded, the bridges and roads started collapsing and transportation became absolutely impossible.
Temporary disaster control centres were quickly formed. Members took different lead roles and were supported by local students. The effective use of WhatsApp and Facebook came to prominence at this point when electricity was cut and there was no radio or disaster management communication systems in place.
Jithesh Ambady, one of the members of the group, created a support group on WhatsApp, which became the lifeline of supplies for not only Thrissur district, but also to all the badly affected areas in Kerala.
He told Gulf News: “My mother and sister’s family are all witnesses and victims of this natural disaster. I was able to understand from them, the critical moments of seeing death passing right in front you. If I was able to do anything about it, it was all because of the good friendships I have. With the small time frame that we had, whatever we were able to do for the needy is the result of the priceless relationships we hold.”
He efficiently utilised the public transport buses. With the support from their staff, they transported essential medicines and food supply in the initial stages and later cleaning aids.
Dr Rose Anto, another member of the group, said: “The relief efforts taught us many things, but most importantly that humans should be interdependent and must keep an eye on social causes, always. If united we are strong.”
Those who were stuck outside of the town as well many non-resident Indians sprung into action, coordinating these activities by keeping vigil at night when those on ground took an hour or two for rest and regrouping.
The youth came up with several ideas and collaborated with the government authorities in the rebuild process. Teams were formed and spread out to each village and carried out cleaning operations and relief support.
Before the government system started their action, this relief group thought well ahead and sourced items for cleaning, disinfecting and also formed small teams to support restoration of water and electricity.
The team also started to clean the affected homes and scan them thoroughly for snakes or other reptiles. They worked in coordination with Snake Wild Animal Rescue Association (Swara).
All these activities were systematically done keeping the local authorities informed and taking them along to oversee, so that there is absolutely no fund or material mismanagement.
The disaster management outlined above is just one example. There are several other groups from all parts of Kerala that deserve merit. At the end of the day, everyone was united, stood together and worked their way around during those extremely difficult days. All are heroes and they proved that working together works.
As the government works on the rebuilding process, questions are in plenty from the general public on how we can cut costs and function efficiently. The government could introduce a mandatory and major cut on the allowances for ministers and support staff and reduce their numbers.
Apart from that, there are several commissions and bodies, which are consuming enormous funds from the government. Why not dissolve them once and for all and save costs?
There are also a large number of advisors for several ministers who are pampered with huge payment and government facilities. Why not reduce them and let the government come out with an open online portal for public to provide free and professional advice?
Each government minister and all higher authorities are luxuriously pampered with at least one or two police escort cars and personnel when they move around. Why don’t we implement a permanent stop to this?
All the above questions, if answered, could lead to quicker rebuilding of our beautiful Kerala.
— The reader is an Abu Dhabi resident.
To news reports published in prominent newspapers Khaleej Times and Gulf News have created lot of confusion and fear among NRIs based in UAE.
On 24th July 2017, Khaleej Times came out with the news below:
NRIs urged to apply for Aadhaar Card
Filed on July 24, 2017 | Last updated on July 24, 2017 at 08.29 am
Non-resident Indians (NRIs) are advised to apply for the Aaadhar card to avail of state benefits and for hassle-free transactions in future.
According to a manager of the NRI section of State Bank of India (SBI), the government has not exempted Indian expats from the Aadhaar card.
Jose GL, NRI section manager at SBI’s Varkala branch, Kerala, told Khaleej Times:
“My advice to NRIs is to apply for Aadhar Card, as there is a chance for the government to make it mandatory for expats as well. Without an announcement, the government has now asked everyone to link their Permanent Account Number (Pan) with Aadhaar, for income tax returns. There is no doubt that Aadhaar will become compulsory and beneficial for several transactions in the coming years.”
Today, 26th July 2017 Gulf News have come out with a totally contradictory version of it:
‘NRIs not eligible for Aadhaar ID card’
Published: 14:32 July 26, 2017
If banks, or any Indian institutions, demand that Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) produce Aadhaar for official transactions, simply inform them that NRIs are not eligible for the identity card issued to residents of India, a top Indian official told Gulf News on Tuesday.
“Just tell them that we [NRIs] are not eligible for Aadhaar, therefore, don’t force us to produce it,” Dr Ajay Bhushan Pandey, CEO, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), said in a telephone interview from New Delhi.
Whether to apply for an Aadhaar, the thought has now become aa dar (upcoming fear) for expatriates here.
Who to follow and what to do is very important and appreciate responsible newspapers should do necessary homework before publishing such important formation of high importance.
Appreciate to have a clarification from the Indian Embassy authorities on which of these reports are to be followed by all.
Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
26th July 2017