Coronavirus: 50% of UAE government employees to return to offices

Federal government workers who are immuno-compromised, elderly, pregnant or have chronic diseases or disability can work from home

Operators man their posts at Dubai's COVID-19 Command and Control Centre at Mohammed bin Rashid University, in the United Arab Emirates, on June 1, 2020. The platform is tasked with planning and managing the Gulf emirate's response to the novel coronavirus pandemic. / AFP / Karim SAHIB
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Half of all government employees will return to their offices, starting next Sunday.

Office capacity limits will increase to 50 per cent from 35 per cent starting on June 7 but measures remain in place to ensure safety.

Authorities announced the change on Wednesday, saying the decision was made after a third of government workers successfully returned to offices last week.

Federal government workers who are immuno-compromised, elderly, pregnant or have chronic diseases or a disability are exempt from returning to the office.

Employees who care for children who are in Grade 9 and below, or who require constant care, are also allowed to continue working from home.

This week, just over a third of government staff returned to their offices after about two months of working from home.

Some of the measures in place to protect staff include the mandatory use of face masks and gloves, and a ban on handshakes.

Prayer rooms and shared areas will be closed. Video conferences should replace meetings and everyone should wash or sanitise their hands regularly.

Glass barriers should be installed to separate employees and customers, and people should always remain two metres apart.

Before leaving home, Abu Dhabi government employees should check their temperatures and travel in their own car, avoiding public transport where possible.

When they arrive at work they will have their temperature taken and a QR code scanned on their phone.

No more than two people will be allowed to use a lift at a time.

Everyone will be encouraged to download the government's Al Hosn app, which helps the government to trace people who have been in contact with a coronavirus carrier.