Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 28 May 2020

The UAE has the right spirit and tools to overcome the challenges of coronavirus

The Emirates has taken bold measures, but they reflect leadership's commitment to protecting its greatest asset – the country's people

Dubai's Burj Khalifa lit up in March with a message urging residents to "Stay Home". AFP
Dubai's Burj Khalifa lit up in March with a message urging residents to "Stay Home". AFP

Unity is key to a healthy and thriving community. Each of us has a part to play to ensure a cohesive and tolerant society that offers support to all of its members. But this goes beyond the individual; both public and private sector organisations have an important responsibility towards society, particularly during times of uncertainty. Tasked with safeguarding communities’ social ecosystems, they must aid in fostering solidarity and compassion while maintaining calm, and propagating optimism, which is crucial to boosting the morale of a public facing unprecedented circumstances.

Today, we are facing a global health crisis that has affected all aspects of life. Covid-19 has indeed changed the world as we know it, but it is a challenge that we will surmount no matter how long it lasts. The key to overcoming it is a unified effort from both individuals and institutions. Working together to limit the impact of this disease will accelerate our recovery and eventually allow us to resume normal life.

Time and time again, the UAE has proved its readiness to face crises and their adverse effects head-on. The World Health Organisation has, in fact, ranked the UAE number one globally in the prevention of the spread of Covid-19, thanks to our wise leadership’s prompt response and implementation of strict precautionary measures. Moreover, the UAE community has risen to the challenge by strongly adhering to these measures, which include the Stay at Home initiative, guidelines for social distancing, and instructions to stay indoors during times allocated for the National Sterilisation Programme.

Covid-19 has changed the world as we know it, but we will surmount the challenge, no matter how long it lasts

Particularly praiseworthy are the extraordinary efforts of the UAE’s medical and healthcare staff. They have diligently worked around the clock to help contain the Covid-19 outbreak, and their heroism has contributed significantly to limiting the number of cases in the country. We could not be more grateful for their skills and sacrifices, as they bravely stand at the frontlines of the battle with the virus, risking their own safety for the well-being of our community.

A berry picker at the UAE’s first raspberry and blackberry model farm in full sanitary uniform. Victor Besa for The National 
A berry picker at the UAE’s first raspberry and blackberry model farm in full sanitary uniform. Victor Besa for The National

That well-being is also safeguarded by the collaboration between the teams from the public security, civil and service entities, to whom we also owe our gratitude. Additionally, essential staff in restaurants, supermarkets, pharmacies, delivery workers, and those carrying out cleaning and sterilisation across the emirate must be commended for helping to keep society functioning during this difficult time. And finally, we thank all those who are working from home; this small act is a crucial step in dampening the spread of this global pandemic.

The measures taken by the UAE are bold, but they reflect the wisdom and unwavering commitment of our leadership to protect its greatest asset – its people – at all times. This social contract is seen across Emirati society, which is characterised by unity and tolerance towards others. Our cultural pillars are the legacy of our ancestors, who adapted to survive the harshest of circumstances thanks to co-operation and strong social bonds. Due to this longstanding commitment to the greater good, in the present circumstances we are proud to see community members demonstrating their support and abiding by all the measures introduced to combat the outbreak.

Part of keeping the community safe and well is ensuring economic security. Abu Dhabi’s leadership has taken the necessary steps to support those who have been adversely affected financially by the current circumstances. Key is the economic stimulus programme launched by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to accelerate the implementation of key economic initiatives under the Ghadan 21 programme. There have also been reductions in living costs and measures to facilitate business activity within the emirate. These incentives will help to mitigate economic damage and eventually contribute to accelerating growth, the fruits of which we will see once we emerge even stronger from this crisis.

In March, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, reassured UAE residents and citizens that there will be adequate supplies of medicine and food available during the coronavirus outbreak. Courtesy: Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Twitter account
In March, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, reassured UAE residents and citizens that there will be adequate supplies of medicine and food available during the coronavirus outbreak. Courtesy: Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Twitter account

The Department of Culture and Tourism is appreciative of the co-operation we have received from our partners, particularly hotel establishments, tourism facilities and event organisers. While their businesses have been affected by the crisis, we are working closely with their management to ensure the safety and well-being of visitors. Our inspectors are liaising with all partners to ensure strict implementation of the necessary precautionary measures. I would like to commend the efforts of our inspectors and thank them for all their strenuous field work at this critical time.

It is when facing such challenging circumstances that we most need to stand united. We will beat this pandemic by standing together and committing to following the directives of our wise leaders. Each one of us is responsible for protecting the health of others, and our sacrifices during this crucial period will help to ensure our own safety and that of our community. We must contain the spread of the virus by staying home as much as possible, and complying with social distancing in its various forms. Equally as important, we must remain positive. Although it may seem difficult at the moment, being optimistic is key. As long as we support one another, safeguard our bonds and help those who are suffering the adverse effects of these sudden changes in our lives, we will triumph.

Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak is Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi

Updated: April 4, 2020 01:10 PM

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