Coronavirus: Abu Dhabi and Dubai government staff allowed to work from home

Remote working systems is focused on senior citizens, working mothers and employees who suffer from chronic diseases and respiratory symptoms

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Some Abu Dhabi and Dubai government employees are to work from home in an effort to stem the spread of Covid-19.

Authorities in both emirates have rolled out remote working schemes, focusing on groups of workers viewed as being particular risk of infection.

Abu Dhabi is allowing senior citizens, working mothers and employees who suffer from chronic diseases and respiratory symptoms to carry out duties in their homes.

The move is the latest in a series of measures the country has taken to slow the spread of the disease, which was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation on Wednesday.

In a statement announced on Twitter, the Abu Dhabi Government Media Office: “Abu Dhabi government activates the "remote work" system for some of its employees, thanks to its advanced technical system and technological readiness, to ensure the smoothness and efficiency of all procedures, in order to accelerate the digital transformation.

“Enhancing the series of preventative and precautionary measures taken by the government to ensure the safety and health of its human resources, "remote work" is focused on senior citizens, working mothers and employees who suffer from chronic diseases and respiratory symptoms.”

Dubai announced on Thursday it is introducing a raft of measures to protect staff, including allowing pregnant women, elderly members of the workforce and people with disabilities to work remotely.

Flexible working hours will be offered to women who have children in school at Grade 9 or below.

Staff will be encouraged to hold meetings via means such as video conferencing and over the phone rather than in person, while business travel is also to be evaluated.

The UAE’s Ministry of Education has also closed schools, universities and nurseries for four weeks, starting on March 8.

The originally scheduled spring holiday was moved forward by two weeks, with a fortnight of remote learning to start on March 22. Schools are currently due to reopen on April 5.