DUBAI (Reuters) – The United Arab Emirates extended on Saturday to April 5 a nightly curfew to sterilise public places to combat the coronavirus as neighbouring Qatar reported its first death from the disease.
The UAE’s deep clean campaign, being implemented between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. each day, began on March 26 and was originally meant to end on the morning of March 29.
“We are all hoping that everybody, citizens, residents and visitors, will stay at home during this period,” Farida Al- Hosani, a health ministry spokeswoman, told a news conference.
Qatar became the latest Gulf state to report its first death from the virus, a Bangladeshi resident. The majority of the 590 cases in Qatar are among migrant labourers in the country, where foreigners make up most of the work force.
The Qatar Olympic Committee said on Saturday it had extended a suspension of local sports activities to April 14.
Qatar and the UAE confirmed more infections on Saturday to take the total in the six Gulf Arab states to over 3,000, with 11 deaths. The UAE has reported two deaths from the pandemic and 468 confirmed infections.
The UAE’s de facto ruler, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, visited a mobile coronavirus testing centre on Saturday and posted on Twitter a picture of himself receiving a nasal swab while in a car.
Dubai, the region’s business and tourism hub and a major air transit centre, announced more incentives to shield its economy, which has been hit hard by global travel disruptions and the closure of most public venues in the UAE.
Among measures announced by the Dubai Free Zones Council on Saturday were six-month rent waivers, cancellation of fines and permitting temporary employee contracts until the end of the year to support employment efforts, state news agency WAM said.
(Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli, Ahmed Tolba, Alexander Cornwell and Saeed Azhar; editing by Jason Neely and Ros Russell)