Coronavirus: UAE buildings to be repurposed to help doctors in fight against Covid-19

UAE Cabinet forms committee responsible for allocation of buildings to healthcare sector amid outbreak

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, chairs a UAE Cabinet meeting on Tuesday. Courtesy Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Twitter
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A government committee to determine which buildings can be repurposed to support the UAE’s health sector fight the rising number of coronavirus cases was formed on Monday.

The UAE Cabinet, chaired by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, approved the formation of a "task force" to study and identify the optimal use of government buildings and facilities throughout the pandemic.

These buildings may be converted into healthcare facilities or storage areas, Sheikh Mohammed wrote on Twitter.

He said all government efforts and capabilities were being directed at overcoming this “exceptional time in our country's history”.

The world after coronavirus needs different preparations … because it will be different

Private businesses and hotels have already begun donating buildings to the government to be used however necessary amid the outbreak.

Some hotels have been used as isolation centres for people who must undergo quarantine. Last week, Dubai World Trade Centre was converted into one of the largest field hospital in the Middle East to accommodate coronavirus patients.

A second taskforce of government officials was formed on Monday to "develop government human resources". The group is tasked with finding ways to increase productivity and develop technical skills that will be necessary after the crisis.

Sheikh Mohammed said serious changes needed to made in the world post-coronavirus.

“The reality of work will change and the way of work must change. The world after coronavirus needs different preparations … because it will be different,” he said.

After being briefed on the latest developments regarding the country's response to Covid-19, the Cabinet passed a bill on the "protection of national safety". The bill includes mechanisms to declare a "state of national safety" and identifies the authority responsible for triggering and enforcing it.

Understood to be the equivalent of a "state of emergency", the law allows for measures to be put in place to protect public health and safety in case of national or global crisis.

"The new law guarantees the protection of society and its gains in the event of disasters and health, economic and environmental threats to our country," Sheikh Mohammed said.

A group to develop agriculture in the UAE was also approved by the Cabinet.

Headed by the Minister of State for Food Security, the goal of this group is to significantly increase the food productivity of our agricultural sector using new technologies.

"Sustainable agriculture is an economic, security and social guarantee for the country," Sheikh Mohammed said.

The Cabinet then issued a federal law to protect genetic resources and reduce the effect on biodiversity was approved. No further details were released on this law.