Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 3 April 2020

Coronavirus in UAE: Public and private sector workers told to work from home

A small number of staff may work from the office, but this cannot exceed 30 per cent of the total number of employees

Almost all public and private sector employees must work from home starting on Sunday, the Federal Authority for Government Human Resources and Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation announced.

All government offices and private companies must implement a work from home programme for at least the next two weeks, subject to extension.

A small number of staff may work from the office, but this cannot exceed 30 per cent of the total number of employees.

The decision was made as part of measure to help contain the spread of Covid-19.

All employees whose work does not require them to be in the office must work from home, the authority and ministry said on Thursday.

Companies and government offices are obliged to provide their staff with the systems needed to work from home effectively, reported state news agency Wam.

The new rule does not apply to workers at supermarkets and pharmacies.

It also excludes the following sectors: energy, communications, health, education, security, police, postal service, military, construction projects, banking and finance, FNB, airports and petrol stations.

On Monday, the ministry said companies should also consider organising transport for their employees.

Construction companies must provide more buses to take workers between their accommodation and construction site to avoid crowding.

Buses must not exceed 25 per cent capacity to maintain a safe distance between workers.

Similarly, all gatherings and activities must be suspended in labour accommodation and workers must practice social distancing.

Meal times must be staggered to avoid large gatherings at canteens and workers must keep a minimum of two metres between eachother.

Companies are also obliged to report cases of workers who show symptoms consistent with Covid-19 or any suspected cases to authorities.

The decision obligated private sector facilities to report cases of workers who show symptoms of the virus or suspected of being infected with it,

The decision came the same day a nationwide disinfection programme was announced.

Emiratis and residents were told to stay home at the weekend while between 8pm to 6am, daily, starting Thursday and ending Sunday morning.

During that time, public transport across the country will halt and roads will be closed so they can be extensively sprayed.

Movement of traffic and people can go on as usual during the day, but will be restricted during the disinfection period, the Ministry of Interior said.

"All retail food outlets such as cooperative societies, supermarkets, grocery stores and pharmacies will remain open 24/7. The public will continue to have access to them even during the period of movement restrictions during the disinfection," the ministry said.

Dubai Metro and public transport services will close for much of the weekend.

Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority previously said taxis would be available for all journeys but went on to clarify that they could only take passengers to hospital.

Motorists were told not to use their cars on the streets unless absolutely essential. Anyone leaving their homes for any reason must carry their Emirates ID and should expect to be stopped by police.

On Thursday, the National Media Council said members of the media would be exempt from the shutdown during disinfection hours but would have to provide ID and explain their assignment if stopped by police.

Updated: March 26, 2020 09:58 PM

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