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General News, The Leader - 21 April, 2020

Mohammed bin Rashid chairs remotes cabinet meeting, approves draft law for national safety

Vice President, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai,His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum,  said that the UAE is standing together in one trench with its citizens and residents against the current challenges.

"We are racing against time to make our country fully ready for various circumstances," His Highness Sheikh Mohammed added, while praising the efforts made by various federal and local healthcare authorities to maintain the safety and health of society.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid made these remarks while chairing a virtual meeting of the UAE Cabinet today, during which he remotely hosted a number of front-liners working in services centres for treating novel coronavirus patients to check on their conditions, and listen to their observations and related proposals.

The meeting was attended by Dr. Kalthoum Al Balushi, Director of the Ministry's Hospitals at the Ministry of Hospitals and Prevention, Dr. Aref Abdullah Al-Nouriani, Head of Cardiology Center and Interventional Cardiology Consultant & Director of Al Qasimi Hospital, and nurse Asma Al Shehhi.

Addressing the front-liners, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed said, "Today, you are setting the most wonderful examples of sacrifice, and everyone will learn from you about the meanings of giving, humanity and responsibility. We commend every second of the efforts and energies that you dedicate to the safety of citizens and residents, as well as your awareness of the dangers that you are facing every day to ensure our safety and the protection of our country."

"Your stances and actions will remain go down to the annals of history and will be passed on to generations to come. You are our heroes and strongest bastions, and the UAE’s protective shield," he added.

He also thanked those working in the healthcare sector and community volunteers: "We are proud of UAE residents living with us, including doctors, nurses and paramedics who are all joining hands together and sparing no effort under the current exceptional circumstances."

"We thank your families, your mothers, fathers and children. All appreciation and gratitude to them! They are heroes as well, and we are ready to support you. We are all one team, and we are serving one country, and we are facing one common enemy," Sheikh Mohammed further added.

At the start of the meeting, Sheikh Mohammed listened to presentations from the participating ministers on the latest developments on the local scene and the measures taken by the government to deal with the impact of coronavirus.

During the meeting, the cabinet approved the formation of a taskforce to develop the UAE's modern agricultural sector headed by Minister of State for Food Security and representatives from government and private sectors. Sustainable agriculture is an economic, security and social guarantee for the UAE.

Also approved was the setting up of a taskforce to develop government human resources and provide new applications to raise productivity and skill-sets, with technical preparations for after the crisis.

The cabinet also set up a taskforce to study the optimal use of government buildings and facilities and the possibility of converting them into medical facilities amid this global crisis.

"All government capabilities will be utilised to rapidly overcome this unprecedented time" Sheikh Mohammed said.

Addressing the meeting, H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, affirmed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, through its representative missions abroad and in coordination with relevant national authorities has succeeded in coordinating the return of 3,524 Emirati students back home.

"These students account for 96 percent of those on overseas scholarships. They underwent all required quarantine measures and are getting constant checks to ensure their health and safety," added the UAE's top diplomat.

Abdul Rahman bin Mohammad Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention, said: "We are constantly developing proactive detection mechanisms to test patients, using state-of-the-art-technology to prevent infections and save time and accelerate measures. We are racing against time to counter the coronavirus pandemic, by identifying and isolating infected cases and those who had been in contact with them, in order to protect public health," Al Owais said.

"A record 790,000 tests have been conducted until early this week at a rate exceeding 82,291 tests per million people, which makes the UAE among the top world countries for testing in terms of population. Also, periodic field reports have shown that most cases are stable and receiving the necessary healthcare," he added.

During the meeting, Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, reviewed the latest developments on local markets and the availability of essential commodities. "Over the recent period, we have ensured continued availability of all essential food commodities in retail outlets for the next three to six months," he said.

"We are striving to ensure that no food commodities needed by the UAE market would be re-exported. Strict price control measures are being taken in cooperation with all economic development departments nationwide to ensure consumer protection," he added.

As part of the meeting’s agenda, the cabinet approved several decisions and initiatives related to the national precautionary measures on coronavirus, as well as the formation of a team to study the optimum use of vital facilities during emergencies and crises. The team is tasked with preparing a relevant plan and studying ways of utilising these facilities to best serve various national strategic sectors.

The tasks of the team include establishing mechanisms and procedures to convert public and vital facilities in the country, such as warehouses, exhibition halls, schools and others, to health facilities to ensure health prevention, treatment, and diagnosis services are in place across the country when necessity arises.

The cabinet also decided to form a team headed by the Director-General of the Federal Authority for Government Human Resources to develop government work and boost productivity during crises.

The ministers adopted a decision to form a taskforce to look into the prospects of modernising the agricultural sector in the country. The team is headed by Mariam Mohammed Saeed Almheiri, Minister of State for Food Security.

In addition, the issuance of a federal law to protect genetic resources and reduce the impact on biodiversity was approved.

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