Abu Dhabi National Oil Company has documented the UAE’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, from the early stages of the outbreak to full containment of the pandemic in a documentary.
Titled Energy for Our Nation, the 20-minute documentary chronicles the response from the highest levels of the UAE's leadership.
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, is seen reassuring UAE policymakers that “this time will pass but will need a little patience”.
“Medicine and food” will be a “red line” for the UAE but the two essential items will be available “infinitely” across the country. “Do not worry,” he tells the nation.
The UAE’s response to the pandemic is shown to be speedy and effective. The country swiftly enacted a mass national disinfection programme, deploying drones and special vehicles to sanitise public spaces. Entire hospitals were dedicated to Covid-19 patients. Around 4,000 beds were added to field hospitals in “a very short period of time”, a health official tells the documentary makers.
Around 14 screening centres and five field hospitals were set up in two weeks by Seha, the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company.
The UAE, the third-largest producer of crude in Opec, also had to ensure continuity of production across its oil field operations, often necessitating field workers to stay away from their families to ensure their own safety.
Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Adnoc Group chief executive, says he took faith from the words of Sheikh Mohamed that the unprecedented challenge facing the country can be overcome.
"When he said ‘Do not worry', in my opinion, it was a quantum leap. It instilled confidence and assurance and the real feeling of security and stability,” he says.
Dr Al Jaber, who is also Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, says it was imperative for the country to maintain “continuity of operations, especially production”.
The UAE reached 4 million barrels per day of production capacity in the middle of the pandemic and also participated in an historic pact to draw inventories down amid a record demand crunch.
In a touching moment during the documentary, Adnan Shaheen, an offshore maintenance planner, is overwhelmed with emotion and walks away from the camera, as he recounts spending days in a hotel room during Ramadan to ensure his family remained safe.
The documentary shows how critical it was for the UAE to meet energy needs for transportation, communications as well as for frontline workers, all of which formed the backbone of the healthcare response.
"We must find the silver lining in this challenge,” Sheikh Mohamed tells policymakers in the documentary.
"We need to be stronger, we need to be healthier and we need to improve more."