Combating coronavirus: New fines announced for violators in UAE

News Network
May 19, 2020

Dubai, May 19: The UAE announced 832 new Covid-19 cases on Monday following 37,844 additional tests, taking the total tally of coronavirus infections in the country to 24,190.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention also reported four additional deaths, taking the death toll to 224. Meanwhile 1,065 patients also recovered after receiving the necessary treatment, taking the total number of recoveries to 9,577, the ministry said.

“We see a daily increase in cases due to the irresponsible behaviour of some people who are not aware of the consequences of not adhering to health guidelines,” said Dr Amna Al Dahak Al Shamsi, official spokesperson of the UAE government.

“The widening circle of infections requires no more than a few violations by just one or two people to completely infect families with the coronavirus,” she said.

“The decision to partially ease restrictions is aimed at achieving a balance between meeting the needs of a segment of society, whose source of income is linked to the commodity trade sector, and between continuing to adhere to the recommended health guidelines, and hence many restrictions and conditions have to be followed.”

However, she also appreciated the citizens and residents adhering to the precautionary measures.

“It is heartening for us to see many families committed to avoiding family gatherings,” she said. “As we prepare for Eid Al-Fitr, we are confident that citizens and residents will continue to adhere to health and preventive guidelines, and serve as role models to the world,” she added.

Change in disinfection programme timings

Officials also announced that the UAE’s National Disinfection Programme will now be in place from 8pm to 6am, starting Wednesday, May 20, until further notice. The scheme currently runs from 10pm until 6am.

Dr Saif Al Dhaheri, spokesman of the National Authority for Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management said the amendment comes in light of the “increased number of Covid-19 cases, and the leniency of some members of society and their indifference to preventive measures”.

Food outlets, cooperative societies, groceries, supermarkets, and pharmacies will continue to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week during the sterilisation programme period.

Meanwhile meat and vegetable shops and outlets selling fruits, toasters, mills, slaughterhouses, fish, coffee and tea, in addition to shops selling nuts, sweets and chocolate, can operate from 6am until 8pm.

Shopping centres and malls can stay open from 9am to 7pm starting Wednesday, May 20, officials added.

“We stress the importance of all stores and those authorised to operate to adhere to the applicable health and safety procedures, which include ensuring that the percentage of shoppers does not exceed 30 per cent of the total capacity,” said Al Dhaheri.

He also confirmed that children under 12 and those over 60 will not be permitted to enter malls and shopping centres.

“We warn visitors to the centres that the shopping period should not exceed two hours in order to reduce the crowding of shoppers, and to maintain the 30 per cent capacity.”

Eid restrictions

Al Dhaheri urged the public to avoid family visits and gatherings during Eid Al Fitr this year and to instead communicate using online means or by phone. He also stressed that people should refrain from distributing ‘Eid’ money to children.

“With regard to Eid prayers, we stress the importance of adhering to what was mentioned by the Emirates Legal Fatwa Council, which is to pray at home and to take health protection reasons as a legal obligation, a necessity of life, and a national commitment,” he added.

Heftier fines

Officials also announced heftier fines to ensure that the regulations are being adhered to.

“It was clear to us, in light of the follow-up, that there was reckless behaviour from some individuals, along with the insistence of some to commit a certain type of violation as well as indifference,” said Salem Al-Zaabi, acting head of the Public Prosecution for Emergencies, Crisis and Disasters.

The Public Prosecution has decided to update the list of previously announced violations and fines and administrative penalties to “suit the current situation”, he said.

Some of the new fines include:

– Dhs50,000 on educational institutions, cinemas, gym, stores, parks, beaches, pools or supermarkets that do not adhere to coronavirus measures

– Dhs50,000 fine on those who don’t adhere to quarantine restrictions

– Dhs10,000 for organising gatherings with participants also fined Dhs5,000 each

– Dhs5000 for refusing to do a Covid-19 test

– Dhs3,000 for not wearing a mask in public

– Dhs3,000 if more than three people are travelling in one car

– Dhs3,000 for companies failing to adhere to the 30 per cent limit on workforce at office

– Dhs3,000 for not adhering to social distancing

– Dhs3,000 fine for violating restrictions during the disinfection period

Repeat offenders will be referred to the Public Prosecution and can face a criminal trial with the possibility of imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months and/or a fine of at least Dhs100,000.

“The pictures and names of violators will be published in newspapers and media upon the decision of the Public Prosecutor if he deems it necessary,” added Al Zaabi.

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News Network
September 13,2020

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Dubai, Sept 13: An Indian in the UAE was honoured by the police for returning a bag containing USD 14,000 and gold, a media report said on Saturday.

Retesh James Gupta, who lives in Dubai, was praised by the Dubai Police for his honesty and gave him a certificate of appreciation for being a responsible resident, Gulf News reported.

The bag he returned to the police contained USD 14,000 cash and gold worth 200,000 dirhams (USD 54,452), it said.

Brigadier Yousef Abdullah Salim Al Adidi, Director of Al Qusais Police Station, awarded Gupta at the police station and emphasised the importance of collaboration between the community and police.

It was not immediately known who was the owner of the bag.

Mr Gupta thanked the Dubai Police for awarding him, saying the gesture gave him pride and joy.

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News Network
September 16,2020

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Palestinian resistance fighters in the Gaza Strip have traded strikes with the Israeli military as the signing of contentious normalization treaties between Tel Aviv and two Arab regimes provokes another flare-up in the blockaded territory.

Palestinian Arabic-language Ma’an news agency, citing local sources, reported that Israeli fighter jets and helicopters bombed a training base run by the Hamas resistance movement northwest of Beit Lahiya town early on Wednesday.

Eyewitnesses confirmed that huge explosions were heard in the northern Gaza Strip before the site caught fire.

The sources noted that Israeli warplanes carried out four air raids against the site, while three others were launched by choppers.

Later, Israeli jets targeted another Hamas-run site in an area located between Deir al-Balah city in the central Gaza Strip and Khan Yunis in the southern sector of the Palestinian enclave.

There were no immediate reports of casualties in either attack.

The raids came shortly after Palestinian resistance fighters in the Gaza Strip fired a barrage of rockets into the Israeli-occupied territories.

Reacting to the news of the fresh flareup, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that the overnight rocket fire was meant to undermine Israel's deals with Arab states.

"They want to prevent peace, they won't. We will hit everyone who tries to harm us, and we will extend a hand of peace to all who reach out to us to make peace," Netanyahu said in a statement

‘A message of resistance’

Following the Israeli warplanes’ latest bombardment of the enclave, Hamas issued a warning to the Tel Aviv regime.

"The occupation (Israel) will pay the price for any aggression against our people or resistance sites and the response will be direct," said the resistance group in a statement.

"We will increase and expand our response to the extent that the occupation persists in its aggression," Hamas added on Wednesday.

The Palestinian rockets triggered sirens in the cities of Ashkelon and Ashdod, potentially sending hundreds of thousands of Israelis rushing to bomb shelters just as Netanyahu was signing agreements at the White House with Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani.

Two people were reportedly injured and several more treated for shock after a rocket slammed into a street in Ashdod, according to Israeli media.

Palestinians, who seek an independent state in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, view the US-brokered deals as a betrayal of their cause.

Mohammad al-Hindi, a senior official with the Gaza-based Islamic Jihad resistance movement, said “the Gaza rockets are a message that this great vanity of the United States and Israel will be shattered by the Palestinians and that the final word is for those in the right.”

Hamas also said in a statement that the Palestinian nation “insists on continuing its struggle until it secures the return of all of its rights.”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also protested the normalization deals with Israel, stating they will not foster peace in the Middle East as long as the United States and the Israeli regime do not recognize the rights of the Palestinian nation to establish an independent and sovereign state based on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli land, air and sea blockade since June 2007, after Hamas, which has vowed to resist Israeli occupation, won the elections and rose to power in the enclave.

Since imposing the siege, Israel has also waged three wholesale wars against Gaza, killing and wounding thousands of Palestinians in each.

The crippling blockade has caused a sharp decline in the standard of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty in the strip.

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News Network
September 16,2020

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Tbilisi, Sept 16: The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has approved the setting up of a regional office in Riyadh to support the growth of the Middle East’s tourism sector as it recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.

Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khateeb said the UNWTO’s Executive Council members have approved the move to establish the office during a session in Georgia. The office will cover 13 countries within the region, and will serve as a platform to build long-term growth in the travel and tourism sector of the Middle East.

“International cooperation and the role of the UNWTO are more important than ever. I am therefore very excited that Saudi Arabia will become home to the first ever UNWTO Regional Office, which aims to support growth at a national and regional level,” Al-Khateeb said.

“In Saudi Arabia, we are very aware of the transformative power of tourism on the economy and people. We may still be a young destination, but tourism is at the forefront of Saudi Arabia’s vision for the future,” he added.

Recently, Al-Khateeb revealed that the Council of Ministers has given the Ministry of Tourism the go ahead to open a regional office of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in Riyadh as well as to establish a global academy for tourism training.

Al-Khateeb pointed out that the ministry, in cooperation with UNWTO, would work to lay the foundations and standards that enable the proposed academy to be among the best tourism academies in the world.

It is noteworthy that that the UNWTO secretary general praised the Saudi Summer season during a recent visit to the Kingdom during which he toured a number of Saudi summer destinations. Al-Khateeb hoped that the Kingdom, together with UNWTO, would launch a set of initiatives to develop the tourism sector in the region.

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