Coronavirus: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid calls for UAE to make 'fastest recovery' from pandemic

Vice President and Ruler of Dubai tells online Covid-19 meeting public health and economy must be protected

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Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid spoke of the need to protect public health, the economy and the UAE's way of life in an online meeting to develop the nation's post-Covid-19 strategy.

The Vice President and Ruler of Dubai called on officials to combine to form an "Emirates team" that would ensure the country made the fastest recovery from a crisis gripping the globe.

Sheikh Mohammed is leading the three-day remote government meeting, bringing together ministers, secretaries general of executive councils and officials from more than 100 federal government and local authorities, and international experts.

The goal is to draw up a plan for the UAE after the Covid-19 virus crisis .. a plan that will ensure that we are the fastest country in recovery

"Today our goal is not only to protect people's health; rather, our goal is to protect the economy, protect the gains and protect a decent life," he said.

"My confidence in you is great. The main task today is for us to advance the Emirates faster than any country in the world.

"Today we have the federal government team, the local government teams, and I would like to call you all the Emirates team.

"The goal is to draw up a plan for the UAE after the Covid-19 virus crisis, a plan that will ensure that we are the fastest country in recovery."

Sheikh Mohammed praised Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, for his steadfast support during trying times.

The Vice President even revealed a poem he wrote in tribute.

“This disaster showed us your reality, a true friend and a great leader. Your support inspired all of us," Sheikh Mohammed wrote on Twitter.

The six main areas of focus for the meeting include health, education, the economy, food security, society and government.

Ministers and officials have been discussing and taking part in interactive sessions.

The aim is to produce business plans, policies and means to ensure the short, medium and long-term development of the UAE’s government work, and enable the country to tackle economic and social challenges.

The meeting also discussed rebuilding the government's working system to manage the crisis with flexibility.

On Monday, the penultimate day of the meeting, the session was attended by senior UAE Cabinet members.

They included Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, and Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation.

Mohammed Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future, attends the government meeting remotely. Courtesy: UAE Government Twitter 

Sheikh Saif praised the government's response to the pandemic, saying authorities were quick to leap into action to contain the spread of the virus.

"At a time when the countries were concerned about the repercussions of Covid-19, the UAE sprang into action to not only help Emiratis stranded outside its borders, but also help people from other countries," he said.

Mohammed Al Gergawi, Minister for Cabinet Affairs and the Future, said the government must now plan for life after the virus and consider how to protect its financial and human resources.

"After the crisis there will be a new world order and geopolitical changes," Mr Al Gergawi said.

"As the role of governments increases, technology will control a large part of daily life and the shape of the economy will change with the decline of old sectors and the emergence of new sectors."

He said a flexible government model would be needed and must be able to respond quickly to provide solutions to emerging issues.

Mr Al Gergawi said life at business and social levels would also probably change.

"It is important to establish a new culture, new skills and different systems and to abandon traditional methods of work, such as working remotely permanently for some groups."

He said the crisis was a chance to change society's culture and reassess unnecessary spending on luxuries.

"We need a plan to engineer a new culture for society, which ensures that our youth and future generations have a strong financial culture after the crisis," Mr Al Gergawi said.