Dubai shuts travel agency for offering COVID-19 test on WhatsApp - GulfToday

Dubai shuts travel agency for offering COVID-19 test on WhatsApp


The photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

Iman Abdullah Al Ali, Staff Reporter

The Commercial Control and Consumer Protection of the Dubai Economy closed a travel agency in the Business Bay area for offering to conduct COVID-19 test via WhatsApp, which is considered a clear violation of commercial activity, as these tests are only done and licensed by the UAE Ministry of Health and the Dubai Health Authority (DHA).

Details date back to an earlier time when a woman sent a notice to the Commercial Control and Consumer Protection of the Dubai Economy complaining about the quality of the home test service for COVID-19.

The Commercial Control team gathered information about the service provider, and found that it was a tourism office which received the customers' requests via WhatsApp and asked them to fix the appropriate date, fill in their data and attach passport copies via an electronic link.

Smart-Service The photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

Then they were asked to pay electronically.

The team accordingly closed the office.

Abdul Aziz Al Tanak, Director of the Commercial Control Department, said the inspection teams monitor the markets and carefully study any notes they receive to ensure that commercial establishments adhere to commercial laws, to preserve the safety of consumers and their rights, especially during the pandemic.

Dubai has been clamping down social gatherings and tour operators for violating the COVID-19 precautionary measures set up by the authorities. The authorities have been strict with enforcing rules in the emirate as COVID-19 cases tend to rise in the past few days.

Last week, the Dubai Media Office said, “The Dubai Police, in cooperation with Dubai Tourism, shuts down a desert camp that organised a private gathering while violating Covid-19 precautionary measures.

“The camp operator was fined Dhs50,000 while each participant was fined Dhs15,000.” A video published by media office showed people without facemasks are holing up in close proximity with each other. An official said it was a clear violation of COVID-19 measures."

People sit at a close proximity at a desert camp in Dubai.

The Dubai Government Media Office stated via Twitter that Dubai Police seize and issues violations of Dhs50,000 for several people who held a private party in a commercial yacht without committing to social distancing and wearing masks, and the entity’s licence of the yacht was suspended for a month.

Social gatherings and private parties have been the main cause of the surge in coronavirus cases in the UAE. The authorities said that private parties and meetings are responsible for the rise in COVID-19 cases. Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police, Lt Gen Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, in January urged everyone to follow the precautionary measures and social distancing guidelines to curb the spread of the virus.

On the other hand, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) announced the extension of the suspension of unnecessary curative surgeries until the 20th of next March, subject to renewal, as part of precautionary measures taken to fight the coronavirus.

The DHA indicated in its book to all licensed hospitals and one-day surgery centres that surgeries can be performed only if necessary according to the patient's health condition, which is decided by the treating doctor, and in case of emergency.

Doctor-Surgery The photo has been used for illustrative purposes.


On the other hand, the DHA announced that Al Khawaneej and Al Badaa health centres have been dedicated to treat COVID-19 patients. Dr. Hanan Al Hammadi, Consultant and Director of the Medical Affairs Department at the Primary Health Care Services Sector at the DHA said that the centres will cater to positive COVID-19 patients who were referred based on appointments set by the DHA Contact Centre and the COVID-19 Command and Control Centre.

The health centres will provide patients with quality comprehensive healthcare services 24/7, she noted. Dr. Al Hammadi explained that doctors will evaluate each case and conduct necessary tests to determine if the patient requires home or institutional isolation or if they should be referred to a hospital.

She added that the Authority has equipped the centres with qualified medical staff and state-of-art treatment and diagnostic equipment. The DHA has also raised the level of operational efficiency.

"In line with the DHA’s keenness to enhance the operational capacities of its centres and ensure the delivery of quality services, the DHA has relocated Al Khawaneej Health Centre’s regular customers to Al Twar, Nad Al Hamr and Al Mizhar health centres. Customers of Al Badaa Health Centre have been relocated to Al Mankhool and Barsha health centres," Dr. Al Hammadi said.

The DHA urged the public to continue adhering to all the precautionary measures that seek to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including maintaining physical distancing from others, wearing facemasks and frequently washing hands.

The DHA further urged the categories targeted in the COVID-19 vaccination drive to take the vaccine. Currently, the targeted categories include seniors aged 60 and above, people with chronic diseases, people of determination, frontline personnel in both the public and private sectors and vital-sector workers.

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