With many people across the UAE facing the prospect of a period of self-isolation or quarentine, every day life might be disrupted for a little while.
But luckily, there are plenty of free apps that make carrying on with normal life just that little bit easier, from grocery shopping and ordering food, to booking a doctor's appointment and ordering medicine.
Here are 13 apps that will make life that little bit easier during the coronavirus outbreak ...
If you are feeling unwell, Okadoc will let you find and book a doctor’s appointment straight away, connecting you with the clinic or GP that can best help with your concerns. It also allows you to see a bit of information about your doctor, including their background and area of expertise, as well as offering you the chance to easily reschedule your appointment if things change.
If you urgently need medication, get it delivered straight to your door with the Life Pharamacy app. You can buy medicine, vitamins and supplements, or request your prescription to be sent to your home by sending a picture of your doctor’s note alongside a copy of your insurance policy. It’s great for when you are feeling too unwell to leave the house.
You'll never need to prepare a meal again. While there are a few meal delivery apps to choose from in the UAE (Deliveroo, Talabat, CareemNow are all popular), Zomato is our tried-and-tested favourite. One bonus is that it uses GPS rather than asking for location every time, and offers instant confirmation that the restaurant has received the order and can deliver it. Once accepted, you get a fairly accurate estimate of the delivery time, and real-time updates on the status of your order. If there are any issues with processing or delivery, a Zomato operator is on standby to quickly intervene on your behalf and will call to let you know what is happening.
Deliveroo is another meal-ordering app that offers a vast selection of restaurants to order food deliveries from, which can be filtered by things like cuisine type or promotion. Some restaurants on the app also have a “top rated” category which can be helpful when trying out a new place or whenever you are unsure of what to eat. The app also has the option to pay with cash or credit. Once an order has been placed, you'll be notified to say the order it was received from the restaurant, when the order has left the restaurant, and when your meal is close to arriving. There's also an option to schedule an order for later.
If you can’t make it out to the shops yourself, shop for the items you need on Insta Shop and it will be delivered to your door in around an hour. You can choose the nearest shop with the closest delivery time, and you can order anything from fresh meat and produce to toiletries and snacks, and it will tell you there and then if a product is out of stock, so no surprises at the door. There are options to use credit card, or pay cash on delivery.
Whether you are the sender or the recipient, Fetchr is a speedy and convenient courier service for deliveries within the UAE. If you can’t make it out yourself, drivers will pick up a document or package and deliver it, using your phone’s GPS to determine your location. You can select the time-slot for the pickup and delivery, and track the journey of your package. And if you're really in a hurry, Fetchr Now (currently only available in Dubai) promises to send a driver to collect and immediately deliver a package within 45 minutes of booking the service.
If you like to have the radio on at home, but want more than just the channels available in the UAE, TuneIn Radio can provide a slice of home for expatriates. If you want to get your fill of Britain's BBC Radio 5 Live, India's Radio City, Manila's WinRadio or Radio New Zealand, this app will help you tune in to your station of choice. Search the app for the international radio station you need back in your life and tune in – just like that. You can save multiple stations, too, which will allow you to flick between Monaco and Montreal within seconds. It even has a library of podcasts that you won't find on UAE app stores.
If you’re running low on fuel and you’re not sure when you next will have chance to fill up, Cafu's on-demand fuel delivery service can help. Cafu will come to you to fill up your car with fuel, whether you're at home, work or basically anywhere.
Most people in the UAE will know a person who "swears by Kibson's", and there's good reason for that. This delivery service is a rare find – where we can vouch for its nutritional integrity alongside its ability to bring everything we need right to our doors. Kibson's is a fresh food and produce delivery service), offering good quality fruit and vegetables, as well as other edible goods such as meat and fish, for fair prices.
To schedule in a big grocery shop, the Carrefour Now app is a great and It can have your shopping at your door in as little as an hour. With thousands of products on offer, it is not always the most straightforward to use and can at times be a little confusing, but once you’ve worked out your way around it, it’s much easier than braving the busy aisles in store.
If you can’t make it to the mosque to pray, Muslim Pro is a useful app that lists the prayer times and sounds the prayer calls on your smartphone, wherever you are. It is especially useful as an alarm for the early sunrise prayer, which some people struggle to wake up for. If you would prefer a more discreet reminder, you can opt for a silent notification. The app is also helpful while at home or travelling, since in addition to the Quran, it features a compass to give you the prayer direction and timings no matter where you are in the world.
For when you want someone else to do your laundry for you, this service will allow you to pre-book a slot and have your washing back to you within 24 hours. You can book in for round-the-clock washing, ironing, folding and dry cleaning. The service is available in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah.