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.
Great efforts reflect the vision of delivering services and providing the vaccine to the citizens, says Hessa Tahlak.
The Ministry of Education and the Umm Al Quwain emergency, crisis and disaster management team announced schools in Umm Al Quwain will switch to 100 per cent online learning ‘until further notice’.
Furthering its commitment to promoting books and literacy, Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) is organising the National Libraries Summit on November 8 – 9, 2021 at its headquarters in Sharjah. The two-day summit will be held in conjunction with the 40th Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF 2021) under the theme ‘Visibility, Engagement, Impact, and Collaboration’, and convene 50 national library directors and senior staff from 20 countries in Europe, North America, Africa and the MENA region.
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain has said that their government is making special arrangements for Sikhs around the world to attend the upcoming celebrations of the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak which will be held in Kartarpur, Punjab, Pakistan.
The envoys issued a highly unusual joint statement on Monday saying the continued detention of Parisian-born philanthropist and activist Osman Kavala "cast a shadow" over Turkey.