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Covid-19: Beach-goers, visitors at Abu Dhabi parks handed out masks

Face masks were handed out to visitors at public parks and among beach-goers in Abu Dhabi as part of civic body’s campaign to make people aware about the importance of adhering to Covid-19 safety guidelines. 

The initiative – Prevention First – is being carried out by the Abu Dhabi Municipality in cooperation with the Yas volunteer team.
The municipal officials said the awareness drive included distributing masks to the people visiting parks and beaches and sensitising them about anti-Covid measures.

“People visiting parks and beaches have been reminded about the safety measures such social distancing, wearing face masks and gloves, avoiding gatherings and maintaining proper hygiene so as to protect themselves and the community from the Covid-19 pandemic,” the officials pointed out. 

Public beaches and parks were reopened in Abu Dhabi during July with stringent precautionary measures as authorities gradually eased Covid-19 restrictions.

The Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT) had, however, strongly advised residents to continue social distancing and wear masks at all public places.

At entrances of each reopened public beach and park, thermal cameras check visitors’ temperatures and restrictions are in place for groups, couples and individuals, which include limiting the maximum number of people in a group to five.

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Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia reports 492 COVID-19 cases, 26 deaths

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health on Thursday reported 492 new coronavirus cases, 592 recoveries, and 26 deaths.

This brings the total number of cases in the Kingdom to 335,097, and the total number of recoveries to 319,746. Meanwhile, the death toll was 4,794.

The health ministry recorded 55 COVID-19 cases in Medina, 52 in Yanbu, and 39 in the city of Jeddah.

Read the latest updates in our dedicated coronavirus section.

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Last Update: Thursday, 01 October 2020 KSA 15:47 – GMT 12:47

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Erdogan says Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire depends on full Armenian withdrawal

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday Armenia must withdraw from Nagorno-Karabakh if there is to be lasting peace in the region where Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces have clashed for five days.

Erdogan added that it was unacceptable that the United States, Russia and France were involved in a search for a ceasefire in a disputed Caucasus region given they neglected problems there for some 30 years.

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Meanwhile, Russia’s Security Council sees any deployment of fighters from Syria and Libya to the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict region as an extremely dangerous development, the Kremlin said on Thursday, the TASS news agency reported.

Two Syrian rebel sources have told Reuters that Turkey is sending Syrian rebel fighters to support Azerbaijan. Turkey and Azerbaijan have denied that.

Call for ceasefire

France, Russia and the United States on Thursday called for an immediate ceasefire between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces around Nagorno-Karabakh and urged the rival sides to return to negotiations without delay.

The move came as the death toll rose in the heaviest clashes since the 1990s around the region – part of Azerbaijan but run by its mostly ethnic Armenian inhabitants.

“We call for an immediate cessation of hostilities between the relevant military forces,” the French, Russia and US presidents said in a joint statement in their capacity as co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group.

“We also call on the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan to commit without delay to resuming substantive negotiations, in good faith and without preconditions, under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs.”

Russia has also offered to host the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan for talks on ending the fighting, which flared up on Sunday in a revival of a decades-old conflict over the mountainous enclave.

Read more:

Macron criticizes Turkey’s ‘unacceptable,’ ‘warlike’ rhetoric on Nagorno-Karabakh

France accuses Turkey of sending Syrian mercenaries to Nagorno-Karabakh

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Last Update: Thursday, 01 October 2020 KSA 15:40 – GMT 12:40

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Refund airfares booked amid lockdown: India’s apex court

Airlines will have to refund money collected from tickets that were cancelled without levying cancellation charges following the coronavirus-induced lockdown, the Supreme Court of India ruled on Thursday. The judgement for refunds is applicable to both domestic and international tickets booked during this period.

The three-judge bench, headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan, passed the order after considering recommendations from the Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to refund ticket fares. The apex court approved a credit shell scheme which will be valid until March 31. Khaleej Times has seen a copy of the ruling.

Refund must be given by March 31, 2021

The airlines have been given time to refund the amount to the passengers by March 31 next year, the judgement said. However, bookings made during lockdown for travelling during lockdown need to be refunded immediately “since airlines were not supposed to book such tickets”, the court said.

The Supreme Court said passengers who have booked tickets through travel agents can collect the refund amount once the money is credited back into the agent’s account.

It added, “If a passenger has booked a ticket during the first lockdown (from March 25 to April 14) and the airline has received payment for booking of the air ticket during the first lockdown period for travel during the same period, for both domestic and international air travel and refund is sought by the passenger against that booking is cancelled, the airline shall refund the full amount collected without levy of cancellation charges. The refund shall be made within a period of three weeks from the date of request of cancellation.”

“For those who made bookings prior to lockdown for a period up till May 24, the refund would be governed by the credit shell scheme and the incentives thereunder,” the court ruled.

Ruling for international travellers  

“If the tickets are booked for international travel on a foreign carrier and the booking is ex-India during the lockdown period for travel within the lockdown period, a full refund shall be given by the airlines and said amount shall be passed on immediately by the agent to the passengers, wherever such tickets are booked through agents. In all other cases, the airline shall refund the collected amount to the passenger within a period of three weeks,” it added.

The court has asked the Ministry of Civil Aviation to issue a compliance notification in the matter.

The credit shell issued in the name of the passenger can be utilised up to March 31, 2021, the bench said, adding that the concerned airline shall honour such a transfer by devising a mechanism to facilitate such a transfer.

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Coronavirus: Qatar reports 199 new Covid-19 cases, 212 recoveries

The Qatar health ministry on Thursday reported 199 new cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, along with 212 recoveries.
No new deaths were recorded.

This takes the total recoveries in the country to 122,911, while the death tally remains at 214.

There are 2,834 active cases in the country, of which 409 are under acute hospital care.

Nearly 5,214 people were tested over the last 24 hours, taking the total number of people tested to 781,128.

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UAE Ambassador congratulates China on 71st National Day, reflects on solid relations

ABU DHABI, 1st October, 2020 (WAM) – UAE Ambassador to China has congratulated the People’s Republic on its 71st National Day, observed on October 1st.
Ali Obaid Ali Al Dhaheri, UAE Ambassador to China, has lauded the bilateral ties between the two friendly countries, which has reached the level of a comprehensive strategic partnership in all economic, commercial, cultural, political and diplomatic areas.
He also congratulated the Chinese leadership and people on the occasion of their 71st National Day, praising China’s major local and international achievements since that time.
Al Dhaheri congratulated the Chinese people for their success in the fight against COVID-19, noting that this global crisis was an opportunity to reinforce the friendship between the peoples of the two countries. He added that the UAE was among the first countries to support the Chinese people since the outbreak of the virus in Wuhan, stating, "Different forms of material and moral support were provided to China by the UAE’s leadership and people, which was also an opportunity to enhance the cooperation between the two countries to include scientific research in the area of health, especially with regards to the clinical coronavirus vaccine trials."
The UAE was among the first countries to launch Phase III clinical trials of a coronavirus vaccine, with major Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinopharm he noted, adding that the results were very promising and the vaccine was officially adopted by the country for emergency cases and front-liners staff.
Al Dhaheri stressed that the many areas of bilateral cooperation between the UAE and China reflect the special nature of their relationship, whose foundations were established in 1990 during the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s historic visit to China. These relations were then enhanced by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and numerous mutual official visits took place resulting in many agreements and Memoranda of Understanding.
The UAE and China share historic relations built on solid foundations of cooperation that started on 3rd December, 1971, two days after the establishment of the country, when the late Sheikh Zayed sent a cable to Zhou Enlai, who was the then head of the Chinese Government.
In 2018, the visit to the UAE of Xi Jinping, President of China, also the first official visit of a Chinese President for 30 years, was a turning point in their bilateral relations and a new era of strategic partnership. In 2019, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed visited China upon an invitation from President Xi.
The relations between the UAE and China have been characterised by cooperation and coordination on bilateral and regional levels in most issues and topics, under the framework of their strategic partnership agreement signed on 17th November, 2012.
The economic cooperation between the UAE and China is one of the cornerstones of their strategic partnership, with the UAE being part of the economic silk road that links markets representing 40 percent of global GDP.
In 2019, the value of trade between the UAE and China amounted to US$48.67 billion, marking a 6 per cent increase per annum, and 4,200 Chinese companies, 356 commercial agencies and over 2,500 trademarks are present in the UAE. Chinese foreign direct investment, FDI, in the UAE were valued at $6.44 billion in 2018 and 2019.
The solid ties between the two countries have led to significant growth in the number of Chinese tourists visiting the UAE. For example, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Dubai in the last two years was nearly one million tourists per year. The Chinese community in the UAE has received both official and popular welcome, and the estimated number of Chinese residents in the country is over 270,000.

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Lebanon’s Berri says framework agreed on for negotiating with Israel on borders

Lebanon’s parliament speaker said on Thursday that a framework had been agreed for talks with Israel to end a long-running border dispute between the two nations that are formally at war.

Nabih Berri, who said the army would lead the Lebanese team, told a news conference that negotiations would be held in south Lebanon near the border under the auspices of the United Nations and the United States would push for a deal as fast as possible.

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Last Update: Thursday, 01 October 2020 KSA 15:17 – GMT 12:17

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Brazil registers over 1,000 COVID-19 related deaths

BRASILIA, 1st October, 2020 (Reuters/WAM) — Brazil registered 1,031 additional coronavirus deaths over the last 24 hours and 33,413 new cases, the nation's health ministry said on Wednesday.
The South American nation has now registered a total of 143,952 coronavirus deaths and 4,810,935 confirmed cases.

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17 Dubai businesses fined for flouting anti-Covid measures

As many as 17 commercial establishments were fined and 15 businesses warned for not adhering to the precautionary measures put in place to stymie the spread of Covid-19 pandemic.

The Dubai Economy imposed fines on the commercial units as the employees were not wearing masks. The violations were spotted in various establishments dealing in retail, general trade, customer service, textile and fabric, perfumes, pharmacy, grocery, shipping, and computer equipment, across shopping centres and in Al Muraqqabat, Al Daghaya, and Al Ras.

Dubai Economy fined 17 establishments and warned 15 shops for not adhering to the precautionary measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The inspectors also warned 15 other businesses for not placing the physical distancing stickers as required. The warnings aimed to ensure the establishments’ commitment to the safety guidelines.

The inspections were carried out on Wednesday by field inspectors from the Commercial Compliance & Consumer Protection (CCCP) Sector in Dubai Economy.

A total of 663 shops and commercial establishments were found to have fully complied with the precautionary measures.

Stressing that public health is a top priority, the Dubai Economy reminded that stern action will be taken against any non-compliance with the precautionary measures found during its inspections or that may be reported by consumers and the public.

It called on everyone to cooperate and contribute to keeping the emirate’s economy moving forward in spite of the pandemic threat, which in turn has contributed to commercial activities resuming gradually, leading to the opening of all sectors and the economic reset in the emirate.

The Dubai Economy also urged everyone to report any non-compliance to the precautionary guidelines through the Dubai Consumer app available on the Apple, Google, and Huawei stores, by calling 600545555, or by visiting the Consumerrights.ae website.

 

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90% of Abu Dhabi seniors repose faith in govt healthcare amid Covid-19

Though Covid-19 has changed their lives, 92 per cent of the elderly in Abu Dhabi have ‘full confidence’ in the authorities and 89.7 per cent express trust in government healthcare facilities, a survey has shown.

The Department of Community Developmeny (DCD) reiterated its commitment to ensuring that seniors are safe, happy and healthy, as the country marked International Day of Older Persons on Thursday.

In the DCD’s recent surveys, 98 per cent of the emirate’s seniors agreed that the virus have completely changed their lives. And while they are aware that they are among the most vulnerable to severe illness, almost all of them have expressed their confidence in public healthcare, according to the poll, as revealed by Dr Mugheer Al Khaili, chairman of the DCD.

70 per cent of community members have also said they are willing to help the elderly cope with the new normal and teach them how to use the Internet for grocery shopping and other needs, the survey added.

“With the constant global changes and challenges, the wise leadership continues to support and care for the citizen and resident elders as they are the true treasure of this nation,” Dr Al Khaili said.

The DCD is now working on a strategy to improve the quality of life of senior citizens, the department chief said.

Dr Bushra Al Mulla, executive director of the Community Development Sector, said that for this quality of life strategy, a technical team has recently held six group sessions with seniors above the age of 60. The team got to learn about their life challenges and more than 100 documents were reviewed with 15 specialised authorities.  As a result, 17 social limitations were identified and shall be addressed.

“The elderly category is an important focus of our priorities, and we are working to study and analyse the current and future social challenges that affect the quality and stability of the family. Through this strategy, current policies and laws will be reviewed and new programmes will be proposed to support and improve the quality of family life,” he added.

“Under the specific Senior Citizens Quality of Life strategy, an emphasis will be placed on activating the role of senior citizens in society, which will be implemented through a set of programmes and initiatives.”

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