Two people play near a sign warning people to maintain a distance from each other in front of Burj Al Arab luxury hotel in Dubai on Friday. AP
R. Ramesh, Deputy Editor
At a time when most of the world remains under lock down and the UAE authorities have launched a valiant fight against COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic drawing international praise, it is disappointing that a section of expatriate residents have failed to comprehend the seriousness of the situation and are adopting a “take it easy” policy.
A law-abiding resident was so furious watching a group of people playing cricket at a street corner that he dialled Gulf Today newspaper to say: “Please advise such people that failure to grasp the seriousness of the situation would only lead them gasping for breath at hospital if the virus strikes.”
Major measures have been initiated by the authorities aimed at encouraging people to stay home so as to stay safe - for themselves as well as others.
Dubai has shuttered cinemas, arcades and gyms over the fear of coronavirus spread in the country. The popular Global Village has closed early. The UAE capital Abu Dhabi has shut down public beaches and parks.
The Department of Economic Development (DED) directed all cinemas, theme parks, amusement games and electronic game centres, bodybuilding and fitness gyms and spring camps licensed in Dubai to halt activities and services until the end of the month.
All seven emirates have initiated several similar precautionary measures to ensure the safety of the society.
So much so that Hollywood star Steve Harvey has called the UAE the 'safest place on the planet' amid the coronavirus outbreak.
At such a juncture, it is totally inappropriate for a small section of people to convert the testing period into ‘picnic’ time.
This newspaper has received complaints about “easy going” expatriate residents playing football or gathering and chatting around restaurants or visiting beach areas in groups.
‘This is just not acceptable as they endanger the society as a whole,” as a doctor put it.
Among the ‘take it easy’ groups are many youngsters for whom a message from World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus should serve as a stark warning:
“Although older people are hardest hit, younger people are not spared. Data from many countries clearly show that people under 50 make up a significant proportion of patients requiring hospitalisation.”
PMA Rasheed, a father of two and a Dubai resident, says he is upset watching some parents taking a callous attitude and taking children to supermarkets. “I saw a parent playing with his kid near a coin machine outside a supermarket. I was tempted to tell him to take safety measures and return home.”
The 77,000 sq. ft property can accommodate upto 400 people and it has undergone all necessary maintenance to ensure the facilities meet the required health and safety standards.
DoH urged the public to rely only on official sources when dealing with all news related to the novel virus.
The laboratory diagnostic kits in the cargo will help screen thousands of people, further supporting the efforts to control the pandemic.
A four-year-old female tiger named Nadia at the Bronx Zoo has tested positive for coronavirus, likely the first case involving an animal in the US.
He had been scheduled to re-emerge on Friday after a week of recovery and working remotely, but said he would remain at home because he still had a high temperature — one of the symptoms.
The Department of Dhafra Hospitals affiliated to the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company “Seha” opens today “Monday” the screening centre for covid-19 in Madinat Zayed, next to Madinat Zayed Council in Al Dhafra Region. The centre’s daily capacity reaches up to 300 people.