UAE’s efforts in handling COVID-19 crisis
In light of recent events, it is unfortunate to say that the pandemic has affected the lives of millions of people around the world. Covid-19 has put a halt on our lives and continues to impact us physically, mentally, and emotionally. The economy has taken a hit resulting in businesses shutting down and a plethora of people losing their source of income. The countries affected each handled the situation in various ways; Some countries took action as soon as the pandemic hit, while others left the situation to deteriorate. One of the countries that managed to handle the pandemic and tried their best to keep people safe is the UAE. Their continuous efforts to curb the disease and their transparency made the citizens of the UAE co-operate and come together in this moment of crisis.
According to Akhbar Alsaa (2020), UAE has been transparent in reporting the number of infected cases discovered in the country, and they did not hesitate to announce that the virus has reached UAE from countries that are affected (para.3). Akhbar Alsaa (2020) added that the transparent approach "adopted by the nation's competent agencies, prevented the spread of misinformation, as was witnessed in several countries that lacked transparency in their management of the crisis" (para.3).
Once the pandemic reached the UAE, the government’s response was immediate to ensure its citizens' safety. They implemented strict rules and regulations for everyone to follow to minimize the number of people infected and announced that educational institutions would be shut down and instead, schools would be resorting to online learning. Moreover, places of worship were temporarily suspended, people were asked to work remotely, and any events that included social gatherings were canceled. Furthermore, shopping centers were closed, but according to Hatem Mohamed (2020), "the decision excludes pharmacies, and food retail outlets, including cooperative societies, grocery stores, and supermarkets, wholesale fish, meat and vegetables markets supplying supermarkets" (para. 3). He added that "As per the decision, restaurants will not be allowed to receive in-dine customers. They can continue to provide home delivery." (Mohamed, 2020, para. 3).
Additionally, the UAE launched a national disinfection program, "which entails a complete sterilisation of all public utilities, public transport and metro services during the weekends" (Ministry of Interior, 2020, para. 1). A curfew was imposed during the disinfection program where people were asked to stay home and only go out if necessary. In addition to that, masks were made mandatory when leaving the house. Any violations of these rules resulted in paying fines and establishments to close down. All these decisions were made to limit gatherings, keep people safe, and to reduce the number of cases as much as possible.
The way UAE handled the pandemic was praised by many people, including the World Health Organization and Dr. Theodore Karasik, a Senior Advisor to Gulf State Analytics, a geo-strategic consultancy based in Washington, DC. Karasik (2020) said that "the US Department of Homeland Security should sit down with the UAE to delve deeply into lessons the US can learn from the Emirati program before sharing them with city planners so they can begin thinking about local approaches" (para. 9).
"Coronavirus" Is Under Control in the UAE. (2020, April 22). Retrieved October 19, 2020, from https://www.ecssr.ae/en/reports_analysis/coronavirus-is-under-control-in-the-uae/
Karasik, T. (2020, April 21). Lessons the US can learn from the UAE about the decontamination of COVID-19. Retrieved October 20, 2020, from https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/menasource/lessons-the-us-can-learn-from-the-uae-about-the-decontamination-of-covid-19/
Mohamed, H. (2020, March 23). UAE government to close shopping centres for two weeks, except food retail outlets and pharmacies. Retrieved October 19, 2020, from http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302832348
MoHAP & MoI to Conduct 'National Disinfection Programme' for all. (2020, March 25). Retrieved October 19, 2020, from https://www.moi.gov.ae/en/media.center/news/032505.aspx
Theodore Karasik. (2019, April 09). Retrieved October 20, 2020, from https://www.mei.edu/experts/theodore-karasik