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Bulletin: 842 new cases; 12 businesses fined for Covid violations

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Here’s a round-up of all the latest Covid-19 developments you need to know:

UAE reports 842 Covid-19 cases, 821 recoveries, 1 death

The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention on Wednesday reported 842 cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, along with 821 recoveries. Nearly 94,000 new Covid-19 tests were carried out in the country, the ministry said, taking the total to over 8.3 million Covid-19 tests. Medics in the UAE have hailed the approval of the Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use, saying it shows how much the government cares for its frontliners. Less than six weeks since the Phase 3 trials of the inactivated Covid-19 vaccine started in the country, 31,000 volunteers of 125 nationalities have participated. No adverse reactions or complications were reported, authorities said.  

UAE frontliners’ kids get full scholarship until high school

Some 1,850 children of frontline healthcare workers in the UAE have so far been granted full scholarships, enabling them to study for free starting this academic year until their high school graduation. Applications for this special initiative of the government are set to close on September 30. With the programme called Hayyakum, the frontliners’ kids will be given slots at public schools in the country and they won’t have to pay tuition fees until they graduate high school. Laptops and transportation are also covered, securing the education of more than a thousand children of different nationalities. Hayyakum was rolled out through a directive from His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. 

‘I was devastated when I learnt that I had infected my family in UAE’

Marichrist Pabiano Costales, an Abu Dhabi-based Filipino frontline nurse, was devastated when she came to know that she had passed on the Covid-19 virus to her six-year-old daughter, her 60-year-old diabetic father and 56-year-old mother. All of them had to spend weeks in hospital battling the infection. Costales, 27, said she had dealt with patients in a screening tent outside the Burjeel Hospital, where she worked, and probably got infected there. The health worker pointed out that at their home, she stayed in a separate room with a separate toilet and was extremely careful about not sharing anything with her family members, including her husband, daughter, her dad, mum, 14-year-old brother and their aunt. During the holy month of Ramadan in May, she developed Covid-19 symptoms, including high temperature, chest pain and shortness of breath. 

Free rebooking for UAE-bound passengers without API approval: Air India Express

India’s budget carrier has offered passengers free date change for passengers who couldn’t travel because they haven’t received their advanced passenger information (API) approval. Air India Express made the announcement on its Twitter page on Wednesday, following mass rejections of passengers who were travelling from India to the UAE at immigration counters. The airline assured that rebooking will be free, and passengers will just have to pay the fare difference, if any. Neeraj Agarwal, consul for Press, Information, and Culture at the Consulate-General of India in Dubai, said: “Right now, we are facing less of these issues. Three to four weeks ago, several passengers could not board the flight to the UAE due to this API issue, which was mostly a technical glitch.” 

Dh30,000 fine for private tutoring in homes, UAE lawyers warn

Lawyers in the UAE have warned the public not to allow private tutoring in their homes as this violates precautionary measures implemented to prevent the spread of Covid-19. According to Arabic media, lawyers said that private tutoring sessions are illegal and punishable by fines of between Dh20,000 to Dh30,000.  They explained that a teacher would breach social-distancing rules by visiting students in different houses, which could in turn lead to the coronavirus spreading. One lawyer, Hadiya Hamad, said: “Private tutoring sessions are illegal according to Covid-19 precautionary measures. Teachers who provide private classes might be fined by up to Dh30,000.” 

Face fines for not taking PCR test on sixth day in Abu Dhabi

Dubai fines 12 businesses for Covid-19 violations

Dubai Economy has imposed fines on 12 commercial establishments for Covid-19 violations. This includes retail outlets in various shopping centres, sewing and embroidery shops, and fitness centres in Wadi Al Safa 7, Al Hebiah Second, and Al Rashidiya. Lack of employee commitment to wearing masks and not taking the necessary measures to ensure physical distancing were the main violations found during the inspections. The inspection in the fitness centres were held in collaboration with the Dubai Sports Council. The Commercial Compliance & Consumer Protection also issued warnings to five other establishments for not placing the physical distancing stickers as required. 

Power bills in Covid-19 months: Here’s how much UAE residents paid

A number of UAE households were shocked as their power bills hit an all-time high during the last Covid-19 months, when work and school are done at home. One family, who lives in a three-bedroom apartment in Sharjah, saw their monthly bill go as high as Dh3,600. “I have three kids, and two of them have opted for the distance education programme. My wife is a homemaker, and my older son works at an advertising agency. In July, my electricity bill was Dh3,600. It has never been this high,” said Shihabuddin CK, a real estate manager who lives in Sharjah’s Al Nahda area.  

Abu Dhabi takes extra steps to keep health workers safe

Health authorities in Abu Dhabi are taking extra steps to ensure safety not only for patients but for medical professionals, too. Sustainable actions taken fall in line with the World Health Organisation’s theme for this year’s World Patient Safety Day, ‘Health Worker Safety: A Priority for Patient Safety’. The Abu Dhabi Healthcare Company (Seha), the largest healthcare network in the country, has been taking comprehensive measures to support its employees in dealing with the challenges and risks arising from the Covid-19 pandemic. Speaking to Khaleej Times, Dr Marwan Al Kaabi, acting group chief operations officer at Seha, said: “Our employees play an important role in providing services to the community.