Abu Dhabi frontline workers to get housing support and discounts on flights

Support is being given to those who work on the front lines, fighting against spread of the coronavirus

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Frontline workers in the Abu Dhabi will be offered financial support for housing, cheaper travel, and given discounts at entertainment and hospitality venues in the emirate under a new agreement between the government and some private companies.

More than 80,000 medical professionals, police, service care providers and volunteers, who are listed in the Frontline Heroes Office registry, will benefit from the programme.

The office partnered with Aldar Properties, Etihad Aviation Group and Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism to support those who have been working on the UAE's front lines to fight the spread of Covid-19.

The companies will announce details of the discounts in the coming days. This is expected to include travel discounts on Etihad Airways, free access to select Abu Dhabi cultural, entertainment and hospitality facilities, housing-related financial support at Aldar Properties' developments and special activities to celebrate and recognise their contributions.

“As a nation, we are uniting behind our frontline heroes to provide support, recognition and appreciation for their never-ending commitment to protect us in times of great need,” said Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon, chairman of the Frontline Heroes Office’s board.

He said the office aimed to "help our brave heroes and their families deal with the unique challenges they are enduring while battling on the frontline.”

Mohamed Al Mubarak, who is chairman of Abu Dhabi's Department of Culture and Tourism as well as Aldar Properties, said the agreements reflected the government's aim to support medics who treat Covid-19 patients despite risk of infection.

“We must ... ensure that our talented and dedicated frontline heroes receive the support they need and the recognition that encourages them to continue this journey,” he said.

Children of frontline workers are also eligible for free education in public schools through the Hayyakum programme that launched last month.

Dr Abir Darwish is a paediatrician in Abu Dhabi whose two daughters have benefited from the education initiative.

She is now saving Dh40,000 yearly on tuition fees, but said house rent remains as one of the highest expenses.

“It’s a great initiative by the government. Rents often cost as much or sometimes more than the school fees, so support would be helpful to frontline workers, many who spend hours away from their own loved ones to serve the nation and fight against the virus,” said Dr Darwish.

The special registry by the Frontline Heroes Office was formed to recognise and support frontline workers.

Tens of thousands of them continue their work to contain the spread of the virus.