Coronavirus: UAE launches nationwide disinfection campaign

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A nationwide disinfection campaign is being undertaken by the United Arab Emirates aimed at combating the spread of coronavirus in the country.

Authorities addressed the media on Thursday to release details of the disinfection drive, which is taking place over the weekend and started at 8 p.m. on Thursday. All residents were advised to stay at home for the three days.

The UAE, which has confirmed 333 cases of the virus and two deaths, has not announced an official curfew or work suspension but has increasingly clamped down on movement.

Read more: Dubai launches permits to leave home site amid disinfection curfew

Authorities announced that the UAE will restrict movement of traffic and people overnight from Thursday until Sunday. The restrictions will last from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Only essential service workers would be allowed out and violators will face fines, a security forces spokesman said in a press conference on Thursday.

Public transport including trams and metro services will be suspended, while private cars, cabs and delivery vehicles can operate outside those hours.

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The UAE has slowly followed other Gulf states in suspending passenger flights and closing public venues such as restaurants and malls. Dubai emirate on Wednesday directed the private sector to implement remote working for most staff but exempted a broad spectrum of businesses.

Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have taken the most drastic steps, including imposing partial nationwide curfews and suspending work at most public and private sector establishments.

Kuwait on Thursday banned all taxis, directed the state supply company to cover any basic food shortages and said it would disburse a month's salary to all Kuwaiti students abroad.

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