Coronavirus: on patrol with Abu Dhabi Police as officers enforce stay-home order

Officers give a warning to first time offenders - and a Dh1,000 fine if they're found outside again

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“Go back inside!” shouted First Sgt Mohammed Al Musabi, in Urdu, as he caught two men wandering the streets of Mussaffah on Tuesday night.

The pair were on their way home from a friend’s house when he spotted them without gloves or a face mask.

They were not the only ones breaking the stay-home order, in place nightly from 6pm to 6am in Mussaffah, two hours earlier than the rest of the city, given its dense population.

Three more were spotted a few blocks away, but were let off without a fine.

Even if you are authorised to be outside, safety should be your priority. We are doing all of this for their safety

Officers enforce the order to stay home - considered vital to limiting the spread of Covid-19.

“We are patrolling the streets round the clock,” said Captain Salem Al Menhali, from the special patrols unit, Al Mersad.

“During the day, we spread awareness that people should not step out after 6pm and if we spot anyone not wearing gloves or masks, we tell them to put them on. If they don’t have them, we give it to them."

Police on patrol have distributed about 6,000 free face masks daily in areas such as Mussaffah, Al Mafraq and Hamim.

Officers stopped at a small bakery on the M11 road in Mussaffah and spoke to a group of five men who were working after hours.

While bakeries are allowed to open until 9pm, the workers were fined Dh1,000 each for not following strict hygiene measures.

“They were not wearing any face masks or gloves, and worked in the dark to avoid being caught," team leader Maj Salem Al Buloushi said.

"In small shops, only three people are allowed to be inside at the same time."

“Some of them may have not heard the new rules, or they may be unaware of what they have to do, so we warn them."

Sergeant Al Musabi adds: “We are doing all of this for their safety – we are worried about them, they are vulnerable. May God protect them."

He said they only pay half the fine if done so promptly and without dispute.

The officers drove around the streets through the night, speaking in Hindi and Urdu, the languages spoken by most.

Six other men were told off for standing outside their building.

“Please go back inside," Major Al Buloushi shouted at the group.

"Now we are catching fewer people outside," he told The National.

“When the sterilisation programme started, we would catch about 20 or 25, then the numbers started to drop; they understand the situation better now.”