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Thu 12 Mar 2020 01:43 PM

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At risk gov't staff asked to work from home as UAE virus cases rise

Move comes as the UAE, which has already closed schools and nurseries, reports 11 new cases on Thursday

At risk gov't staff asked to work from home as UAE virus cases rise

Dubai asked government employees to work remotely to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Abu Dhabi also activated a similar system for some of its employees.

The UAE, which has already closed schools and nurseries, on Thursday reported 11 new cases for a total of 85 confirmed cases of the virus, with 17 people fully recovered.

“Remote work is focused on senior citizens, working mothers and employees who suffer from chronic diseases and respiratory symptoms,” according to a tweet by Abu Dhabi Government Media Office.

The 11 new cases involve two Italians, two Filipinos, one Montenegran, one Canadian, one German, one Pakistani, one Emirati, one Russian and one British citizen.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention confirmed that the cases are being monitored, and individuals are currently in a stable condition and are receiving all necessary health care required.

The remote working announcement comes as global technology giants operating in the Middle East are seeing a significant uptick in interest in demand amid the uncertainty surrounding the global coronavirus pandemic.

Around the region – and the world – many companies have mandated that employees work from home in a bid to combat the further spread of the virus, while others have begun preparing contingency plans for that eventuality.

A number of global tech giants in the UAE – including Zoho, Avaya and Microsoft – have reported being flooded with requests from companies that have had to adjust their day-to-day operations. All three companies have opted to provide tools free for institutional customers.

Measures taken in Dubai also include suspending fingerprint attendance machines and activating the Smart Employee app. The General Secretariat of the Executive Council called on all government departments to postpone events and gatherings and offer flexible working-hours for mothers with children in Grade 9 or below.

Employees returning from overseas trips have been directed to stay at home until it is proven that they are not infected. In such cases, employees will receive their full salary and be allowed to work from home.

Earlier on Thursday, it was announced that airport-style thermal scanners have been deployed in shopping malls and supermarkets across the UAE in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Customers who record high temperatures will be refused entry and sent to the nearest medical facility for testing.

Deep cleaning efforts have also been stepped up in public places.

According to reports, some establishments have employed round-the-clock cleaning teams to disinfect shopping trolleys, hand rails, elevator buttons and chairs and tables. 

Kuwait on Wednesday suspended commercial flights from March 13 until further notice. It also shut its stock market, government offices and restaurants.

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