** Editor’s note: This blog is being updated as information is being shared by the UAE government. This article was last updated 14th April 2020. This is an ongoing story. **

It’s 2020 and this year will be known as the year of the Coronavirus or COVID-19. With infections spreading and changes happening overnight, we’ve put together this article based on information from verified sources to ensure that our members are kept abreast of news. If you hear about public venue closures, travel bans, visa’s cancellations or any other relevant news, please refer to this article and the sources contained within before sharing from other groups or creating unnecessary fear or panic.

How many cases are there current in the UAE?

For up to date and real time tracking of infections in the UAE visit: https://covid19.ncema.gov.ae/en.

For global stats, you can visit https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/.

What’s the latest information regarding restrictions on movement of citizens and residents of the UAE?

Dubai imposed tougher restrictions on movement and travel from Saturday night, 4th April. Only one member of a household will be allowed to leave the home for essential shopping – and they must wear a mask and gloves at all times.  The Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management said the new rules came into effect at 8pm on Saturday and will last for two weeks.  It warned residents they would be fined or subject to tougher legal action if found to be in breach of the order. Individuals will not be allowed to leave the house, except for essential purposes or if they are working in vital sectors exempted from the restrictions.

Read more.

Which professions are considered essential and are exempt from these restrictions?

Vital Sectors: they are exempted from restrictions 24 hours a day:

  • Healthcare services (Hospitals, clinics and pharmacies)
  • Food supply outlets (Union Cooperative outlets, supermarkets, groceries)
  • Delivery services (Food and medicine)
  • Restaurants (operations limited to home deliveries only)
  • Manufacturers of medicines and providers of healthcare and medical supplies
  • Industrial sector (only vital industries)
  • Industrial supply chain for services and basic commodities
  • Water and electricity sector, petrol and gas stations and district cooling services
  • Telecommunications sector
  • Media sector
  • Airports, airlines, ports, shipping
  • Customs duty and border crossings
  • Public and private security services
  • Municipality services and public and private service providers involved in garbage collection, sewage management and general cleaning and sanitation
  • Private and government sector organisations involved in combating the coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Public transport (buses and taxis only; metro and tram services will be suspended)
  • Construction sector, subject to obtaining a permit from Dubai Municipality and the Permanent Committee for Labour Affairs.

Support sectors

  • Banking and financial services (banks and exchange centres)
  • Social welfare services.
  • Laundry services (for permitted outlets)
  • Maintenance services

Read more here.

Exceptions from restrictions for individuals (General Public)

Individuals are permitted to leave home only for essential purposes as outlined below. All people leaving home should wear a mask, gloves and ensure they keep a safe distance from others. Members of the public are allowed to go out for:

  • Essential needs such as buying food from food supply outlets (Union Cooperative stores, supermarkets and groceries); only one family member is permitted to leave the house for this purpose.
  • Buying medicines/getting medical assistance from healthcare service providers like hospitals, clinics and pharmacies
  • COVID-19 tests

Read more here.

Movement restrictions. What has changed?

Only one member of a household can now leave home for essential shopping in supermarkets and pharmacies.  The only other journeys that are allowed are to hospital or a doctor’s appointment. You must wear a mask and gloves at all times once outside, not only when you arrive at the shop. That person must apply for a permit before leaving the home. Police will send a one-time-use text message with which you can log in. You must fill out a form on the Dubai Police website stating where you are going, at what time and when you will return home. If you are stopped by a police officer, they can check your journey was permitted.

Read more here.

Can I walk or jog outside?

No, and nothing has changed in this regard. If you left the house in the past two weeks, it should have been for essential shopping at a supermarket, pharmacy or for a medical appointment.

Read more here.

Can I still go shopping?

Yes, but only one member of your household can go, and with the permit.

That would mean children should not be taken to the supermarket and anyone in a group should expect to be stopped and penalised.

Read more here.

Do I still need a permit?

Yes. Permits were originally in place for people who had to leave during the original 8pm-6am travel ban, during which streets and public places were cleaned. That system was suspended last week but reintroduced on Sunday. Cars used at night were flashed by speed cameras if on the roads after 8pm and that appears likely to continue. The permit is for pedestrians, cyclists, people taking a taxi or those driving their own car.

How to apply for a Dubai movement permit?

How can I get around Dubai?

Private vehicles can be used for essential journeys but only one person should be in the car. Dubai shut both Metro lines on Saturday along with the tram line in the Marina. But public buses continue to run and are free, and the publicly owned taxi fleet cut fares by 50 per cent.

Read more here.

Should I wear a medical mask when I go out?

Face masks should be worn at all times when outside the home. Read full article here.

What happens if I don’t comply with regulations?

Dr Al Shamsi has announced 15 fines to help contain the spread of Coronavirus. There will be a AED 1,000 penalty for failing to wear medical masks in indoor public areas like supermarkets, pharmacies and hospitals by those suffering from chronic diseases, people showing cold and flu symptoms or those failing to maintain social distancing only. For more details read here.

Where can I find a mask and gloves?

Some pharmacies and supermarkets still have supplies of masks, mostly thin surgical ones that are made to be used once. A box of 50 masks is usually about AED 100 and a packet of gloves about AED 45. Masks that block tiny particles and germs – such as N95 and the FFP2 “duckbill” – are more difficult to find locally and in many countries. Masks are still available online but delivery times vary considerably. Here is a round-up of what we could find from local online retailers.

Can I still order food online?

Yes. Food outlets and restaurants can still prepare food for home deliveries round the clock. Delivery drivers are on the list of essential workers who can move around the city.

Drivers for apps such as Careem and Deliveroo can leave food outside a customer’s door to minimise contact between the two.

Read more here.

I’m a single parent. How can I purchase essential items if I can’t take my children to the shop with me?

You can make use of home deliveries.

Can my live out nanny still come to work every day?

No. Nannies and maids are not considered essential services and they have to either stay home for the duration of the lockdown period or live with your family.

Can I still take my dog for a walk?

No. As you are not permitted to leave your home, you can’t take your dog for a walk, even if you live in an apartment.

Some animals should be take out to relieve themselves. In such cases, it is acceptable but only if it is in front of one’s residence and for no more than ten minutes while taking the necessary precautions to ensure the public safety.
Read more here.

Can I still take my pet to the vet?

Most vets will accept emergencies.

Can divorced parents still see their kids if they don’t live in the same house?

No, you have to stay home.

What is the latest information regarding school/nursery closures?

Spring break, which was due to begin on 29th March, began on 8th March and will last for 2 weeks. Distance learning will be introduced from 22nd March for two weeks, with pupils learning from home. The distance learning system will continue until the end of the 2019-2020 academic year for all government and private schools and higher education institutions across the country.

Read more here.

Read update here.

Will schools / nurseries offer a reduction in fees?

While some schools have announced a cut in fees, parents are urged to contact their schools directly and refrain from speculation.  Read more here.

What other leisure & entertainment facilities are closed in Dubai?

Public and private beaches, swimming pools, public parks, fitness centers, cinema theaters across the UAE for a renewable period of 15 days, effective Sunday, 22nd March. Public parks in the city will also remain closed until further notice.  Effective from Monday 23rd March, all malls and restaurants are also closed with the exception of supermarkets and pharmacies.

Coronavirus: all UAE beaches, parks and swimming pools to close from Sunday.

UAE shuts malls for two weeks

Dubai’s metro and tram service will be suspended for two weeks and free bus transportation and a 50% discount on taxi rides will be offered during the lockdown. Read more here.

Flight suspensions by Emirates Airlines

Emirates has suspended all passenger flights across its network in a bid to comply with travel restrictions introduced to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by air travel.  All inbound, outbound and transit flights will be suspended in the next 48 hours.

For more details visit here.

Emirates and Etihad airlines resume limited passenger flights

Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways, the United Arab Emirates’ biggest carriers, have resumed limited passenger flights two weeks after the Gulf state halted all flights to and from the country in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The flights are open to foreign citizens who wish to leave the UAE, but no incoming passengers are allowed. Effective Monday 6th April, initial flights will commence from Dubai to London Heathrow, Frankfurt, Paris, Brussels and Zurich, with 4 flights a week to London Heathrow, and 3 flights a week to the other cities.

Read more here.

My residency visa or Emirates ID is expiring soon. What should I do?

Residency visas and Emirates IDs to be automatically extended for three months. Read more here.

How do I renew my vehicle licence?

Motorists across the UAE can now renew their vehicle registration entirely online. For the next three months, motorists are exempt from vehicle inspections. They also don’t need to pay fines or traffic black points before getting their registrations renewed. However, the fines will still remain on the motorist’s file. The vehicle inspection waiver is only valid to those whose registration expired less than six months ago.

Read more here.

What are the symptoms of Coronavirus?

Coronavirus infects the lungs. The symptoms start with a fever followed by a dry cough, which can lead to breathing problems. It takes five days on average to start showing the symptoms, scientists have said, but some people will get symptoms much later than this. The incubation period lasts up to 14 days, the World Health Organization (WHO) says. But some researchers say it may be up to 24 days.

Read more here.

How can I help prevent the spread of Coronavirus?

Visit the World Health Organisation’s website for basic protective measures against the new Coronavirus.

What should I do if I suspect me or my family has Coronavirus?

Health Centers List

Please visit the DHA website for more.

Should my family or I be travelling internationally at this time?

No.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC) has introduced a new service on its website: “Tawajudi for residents” who have valid residencies and are outside the country. The service aims to facilitate their safe return to the UAE in emergency situations. Residents can register through www.mofaic.gov.ae

Read more here.

If you are experiencing difficulties or it is essential that you return urgently to the UK please contact the British Embassy on uaeconsular.escalations@fco.gov.uk. Please include your full name, passport number, visa status (resident or tourist), contact details and your particular circumstances.

Should I still be going into work or should I be working from home?

The UAE Federal Authority for Government Human Resources (FAHR) has issued five guidelines for employees working remotely. FAHR stresses that employees using the work remote system are obliged to answer all calls and emails from managers and co-workers and deliver their work at the specified time. Initially, the system will remain operational until 26th March.

What are the experts saying?

Dr. Tom Loney, Associate Professor of Public Health and Epidemiology, Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences offers more information about Covid-19 and how we can all take steps to stay safe. #StayHome.

Read more here.

Be a Volunteer with Health Heroes

In support with the national efforts, the Government of Dubai and Dubai Health Authority are calling on all health facilities and health professionals in the private health sector to be part of a volunteering team that supports the DHA medical and administrative team which form the front line in the current challenge we all are facing.

Find out more here and email volunteer@dha.gov.ae.

Read more:

Tips to avoid Coronavirus

Coronavirus (COVID-19) What we know so far

Parenting Tips to Help Cope During COVID-19

What new and expectant mums should know about COVID-19

COVID-19: Your questions answered – How companies can ensure they are prepared

COVID-19 and how it impacts your rights as an employee in the UAE

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