DUBAI is a name that has become synonymous with perfection, a city that has from time to time proved to be the crème de la crème of Middle East. An enchanting metropolis situated in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), home to over three million people belonging to more than 200 nationalities. The hospitality showered upon the kaleidoscopic diversity of this city, encompassing a plethora of cultures from all over the globe in addition to multifarious opportunities available here makes it one of the best cities of the world to settle in.
This year however proved to be a great challenge to the citizens of Dubai in the form of the unexpected pandemic that took on the world by storm. But in the face of this unprecedented adversity, Dubai sprung to action with prompt planning and effective strategies to tackle the situation and has managed to slacken the deadly virus and bring it much under control. Let us take a look at how Dubai implemented a well-planned tactic against Covid-19 with respect to various sectors, scrutinizing every little detail carefully and meeting the needs of everyone within its borders.
Starting from the initial months of 2020 itself, Dubai had prepared vigilantly for the pandemic scenario, solely dedicating itself to the purpose of curtailing the number of infected. Early monitoring and close observation of the infected, placed under quarantine and in isolation rooms, prevented the virus from spreading on a large scale. Mobile Drive-thru screening facilities by which people could get tested in the comfort of their cars were launched. And the awe-inspiring fact about Dubai’s Covid strategy is that most testing facilities were absolutely free of cost and managed to screen one in every ten individuals. Even medicines, ventilators, PPE kits and quarantine accommodations were granted for free to both expatriates and non-expatriates. And an impressive fact is that even five-star hotels and famous landmarks such as the Dubai World Trade Centre were converted into field hospitals.
The main concern of Dubai officials after health was awareness and a number of initiatives were taken by the government to stop the spread of false information. As people stayed indoors and communicated widely through Internet, there was a lot of misinformation about Covid-19 and its symptoms that spread through social networking apps. The government in order to prevent panic from spreading through false news, launched their own apps for people to stay updated with Covid-19 news. Digital apps such as ALHOSN were launched to aid health officials in contact tracing and to provide quick access to Covid test results. One of the most innovative initiatives of all was the Virtual doctor service provided by the Ministry of Health website. The city even went to the extent of spreading ‘stay home’ messages on helicopters to raise public awareness. Now that really speaks a lot about the efforts of Dubai, doesn’t it?
Work & Education
Who ever thought that people would be able to work while sitting at home? Or convert Zoom and Webex into conference rooms and discussion forums? Remote Work System was introduced to ensure safety of the taskforce and reduce the spread of the virus. Alternative weeks of ‘work from home’ and early leave initiative was granted to private sector employees.
From schools to Zoom apps and interactive learning to distance education, the operation of schools and colleges too faced a shift in paradigm as students and teachers adjusted to a new normal. Dubai schools and colleges were geared with e-platforms and e-learning initiatives to make the students experience quality education, all while sitting in their pyjamas at home. The government even provided free mobile data to students who did not have access to good Internet. What more could a student ask for!
Dubai was one of the first cities to open its doors to safe tourism amidst the pandemic and UAE was referred to as the “safest country to visit in Corona” by popular travel vlogger Nas Daily. Although all Dubai International Airports were shut down completely from March to June, the travel ban was lifted by July and operation resumed to normal. All Covid procedures were strictly followed in airports to ensure the safety of the passengers and only 80 percent of seats could be booked on flights. No longer do you have to request the person sitting next to you to switch seats!
When it comes to public measures taken against Covid, no other city can top Dubai’s preventive methods and strategies undertaken to protect the public. You name it, Dubai has done it all! From evacuation of citizens from Covid affected countries to the rescue of stranded nationals, everything was taken care of up to the last inch of detail. Every public and private location was completely sealed off during lockdown, not allowing a single human being to roam around unless necessary without a pass. Every visible surface was sterilized through the National Disinfection Program daily from 8am to 6pm. Sanitizers were installed in every nook and corner of the city and round the clock deep cleaning and thermal scanners at entry points helped in halting the spread of the virus. Social distancing stickers reminded people to maintain a distance of two metres and directed individuals where to sit or stand in public utilities. Masks were made as essential as the act of breathing itself!
Dubai’s Covid Model is one to take inspiration from and reveals why this city is too good to be true. Within just one month of lockdown, Dubai resumed back to everyday life with the rules and procedures concerning Covid still intact. Being a resident of Dubai, I felt secure seeing the initiatives and measures taken by the Dubai government. Despite the differences in language, culture, caste, creed and race, the rulers and the government, the frontline workers and citizens unitedly endeavor to epitomize the spirit of Dubai. And that is the story of how Dubai outsmarted the vicious Corona virus.