Assess and triage (resilience phase)

The UAE has suffered 37.2 deaths per million inhabitants, ranking it the 66th hardest hit country in the world out of the 150 countries recorded as of 16 August.1

Virtual healthcare:⁵

  • The UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) has launched a Covid-19 virtual information center that aims to serve as a national awareness platform.
  • It also includes a virtual doctor service where users can assess their health condition should they suffer from symptoms associated with the coronavirus.

Stabilize and emerge (recovery phase)

Reopening the economy:³

  • Dubai reopened to international tourists on 7 July.
  • Malls are now permitted to operate at 100% capacity.
  • A verification and validation process has been established in collaboration with various government departments in Dubai to issue the “Dubai Assured” stamp to hotel and retail establishments, F&B outlets and tourist attractions. The process includes proving adherence to health and safety guidelines issued in accordance with the preventive protocols outlined by Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management.

Fiscal policy update:²

On 11 July, Dubai announced a new stimulus package worth AED 1.5 billion. In total, the government has dedicated AED 6.3 billion to helping the economy cope with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The latest measures include:

  • Hotel establishments and restaurants will be refunded 50% of the municipality fee on sales
  • Expedited payment of financial dues to contractors, as well as the return of financial guarantees for construction sector activities related to commercial licenses
  • An initiative to waive penalties for private schools and allow free renewal of commercial and educational licenses until the end of December

Contact tracing:⁴

  • MoHAP’s nationwide campaign has been underway since May. The goal is to encourage individuals to protect themselves and their communities with Alhosn, the UAE’s official Covid-19 testing and contact tracing app.
  • Alhosn has two key uses: it provides quick access to Covid-19 test results, as well as contact tracing for rapid and accurate virus containment.

Adapt and rethink (new reality)

Executive Council – a new structure for a digital world:⁶

  • On 5 July, the President of the UAE approved the new structure of the UAE Government.
  • The new structure targets closing 50% of government happiness centers, transferring services onto digital platforms within two years.
  • It also includes consolidating 50% of existing federal authorities under other authorities/ministries.
  • In addition, several CEO positions in specialized sectors were introduced. The objective is to bring deeper expertise to areas deemed critical in a post-Covid world (e.g. cybersecurity, strategy and innovation, digital government).

Drone legislation:⁷

On 5 July, Dubai issued a new law regulating the operation of drones. This is the first step towards creating infrastructure for drone systems. It also facilitates development of an integrated framework for licensing and issuing certificates, permits, NOCs, and inspection services related to drone systems, and a legal structure for investigating accidents and incidents.

Education – digitization initiatives:⁸,⁹

  • The Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK), launched its Activity Platform on 16 July. It supports learning for students beginning at the preschool level (reading and basic math) through to employability skills for graduates (digital design courses, coding).
  • This summer, ADEK is organizing its first Rize Virtual International University Fair, featuring 74 universities from around the world.
  • Rize also includes webinars hosted by leading names in industry, from blue chip organizations to the UAE Space Agency, providing a wealth of career guidance.
  • ADEK has sponsored a YouthTech competition to enable young innovators to develop solutions to Covid-19-related challenges. Topics include education, economic growth, quality of life (society) and infrastructure (smart cities).