OECD recognises UAE's efforts in fighting coronavirus

UAE 'has proven to be an important and innovative partner' in global response to the pandemic, Paris-based organisation says

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, April 12, 2020.  The National Screening Center, Mina Rashed, Dubai.  Nurse Asmahan Bin Thabet Al Nahdi sanitizes her hands after conducting a swab test.
Victor Besa / The National
Section:  NA
Reporter:  Nick Webster
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The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development commended the UAE's efforts in limiting the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic on its economy and society at large.

The Paris-based intergovernmental body issued its commendation on the back of a report compiled by the UAE's Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority, which detailed the strategic initiatives undertaken by different governmental organisations to limit the effect of the virus's spread on the UAE's healthcare system, its energy sector, schools and the delivery of government services.

“The high level of responsiveness and prompt decision-making has led to the swift implementation of national plans to deal with the current crisis and ensured administrative efficiency in all government entities. The level of resilience displayed is proof of the innovation of the government system,” said Abdulla Nasser Lootah, director general of the FCSA.

“We are proud of the praise from the OECD regarding the United Arab Emirates’ efforts and its efficiency in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. We invite all government entities to redouble their cooperation and coordination efforts across all domains,” he added.

The UAE has embarked on measures across several fronts to contain the negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, including containing the spread of the virus through quarantine and movement restrictions, the application of a distance learning system for university and school students, cancelling public events, curtailing air travel and suspending certain economic activities. The Central Bank of the UAE has also implemented a Dh256bn economic stimulus package, instructing lenders to extend support to companies and individuals affected by the crisis. Other measures have included automatic extensions of expired residency visas for employees and workers for a period of three months, cancelling administrative fines for expired permits until the end of the year, and reducing electricity and water services fees for businesses in the tourism, hospitality and trade sectors by 20 per cent for up to three months.

“The Covid-19 crisis has bluntly reminded us that, as our countries form part of a global interconnected community, international cooperation has never been so important. The UAE has proven to be an important and innovative partner, as we collectively strive to develop the most effective policies to address such an unprecedented crisis," said the OECD's director of global relations, Andreas Schaal. "Looking forward, we are convinced that the United Arab Emirates can play an important role in converting this crisis into an opportunity for the MENA region, and we welcome working with the UAE to make this possible.”