Coronavirus: UAE footballers volunteer in COVID-19 screening centers

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Footballers in the UAE have been volunteering at screening centers set up to test people for COVID-19 as the country continues to expand its fight against the new coronavirus, according to the official Emirates News Agency (WAM) on Thursday.

The UAE has established coronavirus testing facilities across the country in line with its goal to test all citizens and residents to contain the spread of the virus. Authorities have also set up “The UAE Volunteers” scheme, with volunteers working alongside medical staff to facilitate testing.

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According to WAM, the country’s professional footballers have also been playing their part – as have referees, perhaps improving their reputation among the fans.

“The participation of the association in the campaign, through players, referees and everyone involved in the game, is part of its social responsibility,” said President of the UAE Football Association Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi.

Two notable volunteers are UAE national team goalkeeper Ali Khasif, who also plays for Al Jazira Club, and Al Wasl Club goalkeeper Hamid Abdullah.

Khasif, who volunteered at a testing center in Fujairah, said that volunteering is a national duty and had given him new experience, reported WAM. Meanwhile Abdullah, who volunteered in Dubai, said he gained positive energy from “serving his country,” according to WAM.

A woman being tested for coronavirus in the UAE, April 30, 2020. (WAM)
A woman being tested for coronavirus in the UAE, April 30, 2020. (WAM)

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Referees play their role

Referees have also played their part. Dr. Ammar Al-Junaibi, who is also a dentist, volunteered using his off-the-field skills at a center in Abu Dhabi.

In the women’s game, referee Najat Hassan Al Balushi is volunteering at centers in Fujairah. She expressed pride to WAM at being able to do her part and called for cooperation.
The medical authorities praised the sportspeople for their contribution.

“We commend the volunteers of the association working in COVID-19 screening centres around the UAE,” said Mohammed Hawas Al Sadid, CEO of the Ambulatory Healthcare Services at SEHA.

“This step has had a positive impact not only on volunteers fighting COVID-19 on the front line but also on our employees, who believe that the entire society is standing by with them in word and deed,” he added.

The footballers are currently on leave, as the season has been postponed in line with bans on mass gatherings aimed at limiting the spread of coronavirus.

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