Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, has told of his pride at the tireless efforts of the country's healthcare workers in the fight against Covid-19.
Sheikh Mohamed, also Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, praised those on the front lines after hearing inspirational stories of medics dedicated to protecting lives.
At his latest Ramadan Majlis, he said he was confident the country was on the verge of a "positive breakthrough" in its bid to contain the pandemic.
Sheikh Mohamed spoke of his sadness that many could not visit their places of worship during Ramadan and were separated from family because of isolation measures, but called for the public to remain patient.
“God bless you all. I would like to thank everyone in this [health] sector in person but please send them all my regards,” he said.
“Send my regards to their families and ask them on my behalf to have patience.
"We feel sad when we see people unable to go to their different places of worship and it is also sad to see family and friends quarantined, but my advice again is to be patient.
"Today we have much more clarity on the challenges ahead.
"I believe that for the first time the entire world has willingly locked themselves in, but it is also the first time in history that the entire world agrees and fights a common enemy.
"So do not worry, we are on the verge of a positive breakthrough. It is true that things will be challenging until then but we will come out of it.
"We are proud in front of the entire world of how we responded to this challenge. Today you are the UAE’s source of pride.”
Abdulrahman Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention, said years of contingency planning for potential viral outbreaks was proving its worth.
“There were many lessons learnt from this," Mr Al Owais said. "You are seeing what we have worked on for years achieve its true value.
"Many thought it was just paperwork, readiness programmes and plans on paper and was not important, but now is the time where you have seen how important all the preparation was.
"Readiness was the most important tool and I believe there will be no challenge we cannot face after this.”
Dr Fatima Al Attar, head of international health regulations at the Ministry of Health and Prevention, said that while some countries with advanced healthcare systems have been hit hard by Covid-19, the UAE rose to the challenge.
“On April 20 we received a report from the World Health Organisation on the effectiveness of countries’ responses to Covid-19 around the world," Dr Al Attar said
"The UAE was ranked first in the Mena region and 9th globally."
A UAE nurse taking part in the online majlis likened the coronavirus battle to being in a "war zone" against an unseen enemy.
Jessa Dawn recounted her own experience of treating a 20-year-old patient who was put on a ventilator after contracting the virus and has since made a full recovery.
"I chose to bravely put on my shield and enter the war zone to fight an unseen enemy because I believe that this is my calling as a nurse, to be of great service to people in need," Ms Dawn said.
"We shall get through this ordeal and together we will heal as one. I believe this pandemic has totally changed our lives.
"Our work may be physically and sometimes mentally and emotionally draining, but stories of hope prove there is always light at the end of the dark tunnel."