Tag: UAE

Dubai begins a free coronavirus vaccination campaign from today
Middle East & Africa

Dubai begins a free coronavirus vaccination campaign from today

Coronavirus Vaccination Campaign: Dubai has begun the free rollout of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against SARS-Cov-2 from today. The first batch of the Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine arrived on Dec 22 via Emirates aircraft SkyCargo in Dubai from Brussels. Emirates are one of the leading nations to enroll and approve it.

On Tuesday, Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management’s statement announced that the immunization campaign on Covid-19 will commence in Dubai on Wednesday. 

However, there are certain measures that need to be adhered to before residents book an appointment with licensed medical care centers. When anyone will call the hotline number 800342, the IVR will guide them to a voice that will explain the vaccination process.

Currently, the vaccine is prioritized for senior citizens, and for Dubai residents that have valid emirate visas, and for people with chronic ailments over the age of 18. 

To book an appointment, the residents would need to provide a Medical Record Number (MRN). Those that do not have MRN can write to [email protected] for the same by adding a copy of Emirate ID (front and back) along with the mobile number. 

Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism stated that the emirate will start international tourism from Dec. 24 as Abu Dhabi was successful in containing the spread of COVID-19 and keeping a low rate in confirmed cases. 

The total number of Covid cases in the nation presently remains at 195,878, and the loss of life is 642 as per MOHAP. 1,611 individuals recuperated during the past 24 hours, carrying the absolute number of recoveries to 171,451. 

It is mandatory that all visitors take a PCR test on the 6th day of their stay in the emirate if they wish to stay for six successive days or more, and get tested on the twelfth day if they wish to stay for 12 days or more, expressed the official government Twitter handle. 

The UAE government asked the citizens to try not to spread rumors about the new Covid variant strain and to continue taking all precautionary measures. 

Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge stated on Monday, all kids of 12 years and above will need to get a PCR test done if they wish to attend schools during the next term, which starts on Jan. 3.

 The PCR tests will be free of cost on a particular date for each school from Dec. 21 to 31 at assigned screening centers, the Authority added. 

This is the second immunization rollout in the nation following the UAE started regulating China’s Sinopharm vaccine to all residents and citizens free of cost, which began on December 9. 

The mRNA shot which is developed by the US drug company Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech will be given free to residents. For long-term stockpiling, the Pfizer immunization must be kept at – 70°C, which needs extraordinary cooling devices.

The Sinopharm vaccine is 86 percent efficient, as per UAE officials, whereas, the Pfizer vaccine test shows 95 percent efficiency after two dosages.

Emirates along with DHL prepare to distribute coronavirus vaccine in Arab region
Middle East & Africa

Emirates along with DHL prepare to distribute coronavirus vaccine in Arab region

Emirates along with DHL: As the COVID-19 immunizations are clearing the advance tests and getting authorized for use, the Arab region’s challenge is to prepare for the vaccine distribution plan.

The Arab world’s most significant transport carrier Emirates has collaborated with DHL to launch big vaccine delivery efforts before the year ends, as per company authorities. 

According to Arab News, Nabil Sultan, divisional senior VP of Emirates SkyCargo expressed that a center has now been made at Al-Maktoum International Airport, otherwise called Dubai World Central, to receive, store and afterward distribute the jab to medical facilities across the locale. 

The latest preparations started in summer when drug firms first declared vaccine trials. “We can store nearly 1,000,000 vaccines in our office under the temperature needs set by the manufacturing companies,” Sultan stated. 

As per the latest instructions, some of the vaccines require to be stored in super cold temperatures in dry ice containers. Therefore, that could be very expensive and difficult for poorer nations.

For example, the vaccine manufactured by US drug company Pfizer in partnership with German firm BioNTech, authorized for immunization in the UK on Dec. 2 and for emergency treatment by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Dec. 12, and stored in freezing – 70 C. 

Another US drugmaker called Moderna has made its own vaccine utilizing a similar progressive mRNA strategy as Pfizer/BioNTech, which requires to be stored in cold temperatures around – 20 C. 

While, both the UK-made Oxford/AstraZeneca immunization and the Chinese-made Sinopharm jab, permitted by the UAE on Dec. 9 could be stored in the fridge.

According to Sultan, perhaps the greatest challenge is that a ton of the neighboring nations like Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian Sub-continent lack the latest medical facilities and the infrastructure in terms of storage. “Hence, bringing the vaccine to Dubai and distributing it further is the ultimate solution.” 

Indeed, even developed nations are struggling for assets in preparation for the vaccine, especially for Pfizer/BioNTech shot, says Dr. Mais Absi, a researcher at King’s College London. 

“The quantity of refrigerating cabinets with a temperature of 80 degrees Celsius is restricted in European nations,” she told Arab News. “Along these lines, you can envision the circumstance in emerging nations.” 

However, with the emergence of new vaccine candidates, the authorities will in no time be able to shop around for the best vaccines as per their requirement. Furthermore, thanks to Emirates, Dubai will be a local hub for preparing for this endeavor.

Saudi Arabia Presents Divided Stance On Palestine In Bahrain Summit
Middle East & Africa

Saudi Arabia Presents Divided Stance On Palestine In Bahrain Summit

Bahrain Summit: Israel got a piece of its own pie when Saudi Arabia slammed it at the Bahrain Security Summit when former Saudi intelligence head Prince Turki al-Faisal, who  warned that any normalisation deals needed to help the Palestinians obtain their own independent state.

Former Prince Faisal also served as ambassador to the US and Britain also termed Israel as a ‘western colonial’ power. While he may not hold an official position, his stance and statement speaks for King Salman’s mind. However, in contrast, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is keen to engage quietly with Israel. The Saudi prince is looking at countering a common rival, Iran meanwhile and at boosting foreign investment in the kingdom.

Ironically, Bahrain and UAE have already moved ahead to normalize relations with Israel, under the influence of outgoing US President Donald Trump. From the perspective of Prince Faisal, Saudi Arabia is clear that any kind of peace talks comes with respecting the sovereignty of Palestinians. 

In January, the Palestinians, who want to set up an independent state with east Jerusalem as its capital, broke ties with the Trump administration, and are now hoping to build ties with Biden’s incoming team.

With Joe Biden coming into White House, there is a possibility of reverting the peace treaty which did not get the approval of Palestine. Trump had pulled in many Middle Eastern nations with the peace treaty at a time the nations were struggling to keep their head up at Covid-19 times. 

Meanwhile Jordon is also going into loggerheads with Israel over Palestine. Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi has also made it clear that any peace with Israel will have to come with acknowledging sovereignty for Palestinian people. 

Who Is Gaining Jobs In Pandemic Times?
Middle East & Africa

Who Is Gaining Jobs In Pandemic Times?

Jobs In Pandemic Times: The E-retailing giant Amazon has invested heavily in its expansion, giving hope of jobs to thousands in the MENA region. By increasing its storage capacity by over 45 per cent across its fulfillment network, it has now opened a new delivery station in the UAE. This in itself has created more than 2000 permanent and seasonal jobs. 

According to official figures, the company has added 427,300 employees in 10 months, bringing its global work force to more than 1.2 million. Amazon is tapping land hiring in remote areas of India and Italy and investing heavily into its warehousing infrastructure. At an average, the company is hiring 1400 people a day.

The pandemic led to some social distancing norms to be followed. This restriction saw a dramatic shift in the way business was done since March when lockdowns were implemented worldwide. The ripple effect has seen many business houses close shop. The customer is preferring safer modes of purchase like the E-retail model and are refraining from venturing into mom-n-pop stores too. The company now has more than 2.4 million cubic feet of storage capacity across its network and third-party partners.

The UAE has seen a huge boom of jobs in the operational sectors. Hospitality and retail has been badly hit, forcing business owners to shift to the e-retail models for selling. Many stores now have websites and applications for easy buying for customers. 

Besides jobs in operations, Amazon is also offering opportunities in the corporate side, apart from opportunities in its extended partner networks.  Speaking on the development, Prashant Saran, director of operations for Amazon Middle East and North Africa has confirmed that Amazon has “increased its workforce across the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) by 30 per cent in 2020.” 

They have plans to continue to hire for roles that enable the company to provide the best possible customer experience, underpinned by the vast selection, low prices and fast delivery. “We are creating jobs across our operations in the Middle East in UAE, KSA and Egypt,” confirmed Saran. 

MENA region to attract increasing foreign capital inflows
Middle East & Africa

MENA region to attract increasing foreign capital inflows

IIF projects GCC nations to drive external capital inflows in MENA region amid demand for hard bonds

COVID-19 has presented multiple shocks for emerging markets with collapsing capital inflows and domestic and external demand. Amid ongoing efforts to recover from pandemic repercussions, the Institute of International Finance (IIF) has stated that capital inflows in the Middle East region are anticipated to remain high. Speaking to Gulf News, IIF Chief Economist for MENA region Garbis Iradian said that the institution is expecting non-resident capital inflows to the MENA countries to increase up to $177 billion in 2021, which is significantly equivalent to 6.6 percent of the GDP of the region. 

As per the report, hard currency bond issuance of GCC countries is playing a significant role in increasing the capital inflows, adding that countries like the UAE, Saudi Arabi, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar have issued hard currency bond worth $91 billion so far in 2020, as compared to a total of $99 billion in 2019. 

At the same time, GCC’s funding needs are also projected to increase in 2021 even as fiscal deficits have narrowed. Gulf countries are driving the requirements for high-quality assets which will result in the growth of gross public external financing of the region to approximately $100 billion by next year.

Meanwhile, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) continues to remain low in MENA countries in the backdrop of economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is prominently concentrated in the oil and gas sectors in the region, with the UAE and Egypt standing high as the highest FDI recipient in the MENA region.

As per an IMF report in January 2020, the Middle East and North Africa region has been witnessing high and stable gross capital inflows in the last years compared to other emerging markets, providing a boost to investment and job creation in the countries. 

After MENA countries integrated into the global capital markets, their capital inflows surged to over $155 during 2016-2018.

However, the UN organization has also raised concerns about the increasing global economic risks that would put MENA countries in a vulnerable position due to shifts in fiscal deficits, debt burdens and financial buffers. The IMF had recommended MENA countries to improve their policy framework in a bid to strengthen their resilience to volatile capital flows and mitigate the risk of outflows. 

How the UAE avoided food shortages among COVID-19, World Economic Forum explains
Middle East & Africa

How the UAE avoided food shortages among COVID-19, World Economic Forum explains

The World Economic Forum has published a detailed report on how the United Arab Emirates (UAE) provided sufficient food supplies during the lockdown imposed in response to COVID-19. The paper describes the steps taken by the UAE over the past four years to become more self-sufficient in their food supplies, limiting its dependence on imports. The forward-looking policies of the UAE leadership have allowed the Gulf country to overcome the health emergency of COVID-19 without difficulty, establishing itself as a model to follow for other countries around the world.

The effort – part of a broader push to produce more home-grown food amid fears climate change could trigger instability in the global food trade – started after the country was hit by food export bans during the 2008-2009 financial crisis, the World Economic Forum affirms, indicating thatwhen the UAE went into lockdown in April to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, residents had the same reaction as millions of others around the world – they started panic-buying.

Nonetheless supermarket shelves have remained fully stocked, partly because the UAE has long had policies in place to ensure an uninterrupted supply of food from abroad,IsmahaneElouafi, Director general of the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) noted. “Thanks to the work being done to harness the benefits of innovation, agriculture is becoming possible and profitable in a country with harsh climatic conditions,” Elouafi said.

According to data from the World Bank, the contribution of agriculture to the country’s gross domestic product rose from $2.39 billion in 2012 to $3.06 billion in 2018. Currently ranking 21 out of 113 countries on the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Food Security Index, the UAE aims to be in the top 10 by 2021 and number one by mid-century. By then, the federal government hopes half the food Emiratis consume will be produced locally, compared to 20% today. Under the UAE’s National Food Security Strategy – which was officially launched in 2018, but had already been woven into government policy for several years before – the country has worked to boost domestic food production. It has built infrastructure, including complexes for cattle-breeding – and introduced financial measures, from exempting value-added tax on food produced on local farms to paying subsidies on fodder.

The report also shows how to meet the country’s freshwater needs, the government is increasingly turning to energy-intensive desalination methods. Another challenge is that less than 1% of the UAE’s land is arable, according to the World Bank. The focus is on finding ways to farm with fewer resources – which is where technology and experimenting with new crops can help, said Sajid Maqsood, associate professor in the College of Food and Agriculture at United Arab Emirates University.

In recent years, the UAE has seen a rise in the number of vertical farms, in which crops are grown stacked under LED lighting and watered with mists or drip systems. In Dubai, the country’s business and tourism hub, airline catering service Emirates Flight Catering and vertical farm operator Crop One Holdings have launched a $40-million joint venture to build the world’s largest vertical farm. Crop One Holdings says the 130,000 square-foot (12,077 sq m) farm – due to be completed this year – will produce 6,000 pounds (2,721 kg) of pesticide- and herbicide-free fruits and vegetables daily, using 99% less water than traditional farms.

The Dubai-based ICBA works with local ministries, farmers’ associations and businesses to introduce climate-resilient crops such as quinoa, pearl millet and sorghum to farmers. “The global food production system is currently dominated by just a few staple crops – this needs to change,” IsmahaneElouafi affirmed. For Kapoor at Madar Farms, which has been growing leafy greens and microgreens in vertical systems since 2017, the move into tech-enabled agriculture is inevitable to deal with challenges like climate change and the novel coronavirus. As The world will have to shift toward controlled-environment agriculture.

UAE sent 6.6 tonnes of medical material to UK, boosting PPE production
Middle East & Africa

UAE sent 6.6 tonnes of medical material to UK, boosting PPE production

In the context of international cooperation in the fight against COVID-19, the United Arab Emirates has delivered today 6.6 tonnes of medical material to the United Kingdom that will enable the country to produce millions of items of personal protective equipment, PPE.

The shipment arrived at Heathrow Airport on a special chartered flight on Friday morning and was made up of 6.6 tonnes of melt blown fabric, an essential component of surgical face masks. According to UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC) there is currently a global shortage of the material and its export is restricted from the UAE.

This shipment will enable the UK to manufacture millions of face masks to protect millions of medical professionals as they work to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The UAE Ambassador to the UK, Mansoor Abulhoul, said: “We are delighted to be able to assist Britain, one of our closest friends and allies. The UAE is committed to helping fight COVID-19 wherever it can and has donated aid to 63 countries around the world.”

Soon after the virus emerged the UAE retooled factories to produce PPE, the UAE was able to supply the material because of its internationally-recognised success in curbing the spread of COVID-19. Careful supply chain management also meant the UAE did not exhaust domestic supplies of melt blown fabric, which is used in the oil industry and is manufactured in the UAE.

Last April, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, donated 60 tonnes of urgent medical aid to the UK. The NHS has been given rent-free use of ExCel London; the conference centre owned by the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre which is currently NHS Nightingale.

The UAE undertaken numerous initiatives to globally combat the new coronavirus, delivering more than 716 tonnes of medical aid to 63 countries; more than 716,000 medical professionals have been assisted worldwide so far.This global approach on fighting the common enemy, called COVID-19, allowed to save millions lives around the world.

UAE continue to help countries in need, together we win against COVID-19
Middle East & Africa

UAE continue to help countries in need, together we win against COVID-19

Friends recognize each other in times of need, the ancient Romans said. And that is why the United Arab Emirates and its leadership have not hesitated in extending a helping hand to neighboring and distant countries in need among the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, the UAE has sent over 646 metric tons of aid to 55 countries, supporting more than 646,000 medical professionals in the process.

On May 25, the UAE sent an aid plane carrying six metric tons of medical supplies to the Democratic Republic of Congo, to assist approximately 6,000 medical professionals as they work to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. An aid plane departed from Dubai last week delivered seven metric tons of medical supplies to Union of the Comoros, assisting 7,000 medical professionals.

Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, ADFD, also delivered the third shipment of classroom seating supplies to Sudan. Catering to the needs of 150,000 students across the country, the support aims to help Sudan advance its educational infrastructure. ADFD dispatched 540,000 tonnes of wheat worth $150 million to Sudan to meet its urgent food needs.

According to UAE official news agency, taking the total value of assistance provided by ADFD to support the educational sector in Sudan to AED55 million (US$15 million), the latest shipment includes seating supplies for 400,000 students in various states of Sudan. This shipment is part of the US$1.5 billion aid package approved by the UAE in April 2019 to support Sudan’s economic and financial stability. As part of this grant, the UAE deposited US$250 million into the Central Bank of Sudan to foster the country’s economic and financial stability.

The aid package also included US$11 million support for Sudan’s agricultural sector, as well as 136 tonnes of pharmaceutical and medical supplies to support the country’s healthcare sector. All these aids aimed to help the country accelerate sustainable economic and social development.

“We are honoured to extend assistance to Gambia today as part of the UAE’s efforts to enhance the campaign against COVID-19 throughout Africa.” Omar AlMeheiri, Charge d’Affaires of the UAE Embassy in Senegal, said commenting recent UAE humanitarian aid to Gambia, including 4 thousand of medical supplies and personal protections for 4,000 doctors and nurses. “Protecting frontline medical professionals around the world is a main pillar of the UAE’s strategy to help other countries overcome this crisis,” he added.

Also, the Prime Minister of Albania Edvin Rama has sent a message of sincere thanks and appreciation to His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, expressing his gratitude to the UAE’s support for his country after the UAE sent seven metric tons of medical supplies to Tirana on May 15.
On the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, with the monitoring of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in Al Dhafra Region, and Chairman of the Emirates Red Crescent, ERC, the ERC distributed 770.4 tonnes of food aid to the residents of Hadramaut Governorate, Yemen, during the Holy Month of Ramadan.

The ERC intensified its relief and humanitarian efforts to help residents, under the framework of an urgent humanitarian plan to aid families directly affected by the economic damage caused by the coronavirus outbreak. They distributed a total 18,000 food parcels benefitting 90,000 people. In detail, it distributed 2,500 food parcels weighing 107 tonnes to 12,500 people in the districts of Adh Dhlia’ah and Dawan, as well as 1,400 food parcels in Hajr District weighing 5,992 tonnes, benefitting 7,000 people. Since the beginning of 2020, the ERC has distributed 25,410 food parcels weighing 1369.128 tonnes in Hadramaut, benefitting 127,050 needy families.

The numerous initiatives undertaken by the UAE leadership, to globally combat the spread of COVID-19, confirm that UAE’s assistance has only humanitarian purposes. The Emirates offered their genuine and unconditional help to all populations in need, without considering the political orientation of their governments. This global approach on fighting the common enemy, called COVID-19, allowed to save millions lives around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic is a colossal test of leadership, UAE showed decisive, coordinated and innovative action from all, and for all, confident that we can be stronger together.

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