In its fourth episode this Ramadan, Majlis Mohamed bin Zayed focused on the progress the UAE has made in its fight against the spread of the COVID-19 virus. His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, expressed his gratitude and stressed the importance of the collective effort and contribution by all members of the community to overcome this challenge. He was joined by His Highness Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA), and his grandchildren: Sheikha Shamma bint Khalid bin Mohamed Al Nahyan, Sheikh Mohamed bin Nahyan bin Saif Al Nahyan, Sheikha Fatima bint Mohamed Al Nahyan, and Sheikha Fatima bint Theyab bin Mohamed Al Nahyan.
His Highness spoke about the importance of volunteer work and commended community members' efforts to support the country in overcoming the COVID-19 challenge. His Highness said: "Today, everyone in the world is fighting this battle. However, what distinguishes one country from another is team leaders, members, and volunteers who have made the UAE among the top 10 countries in combating this pandemic."
His Highness also picked up on the insights shared by the expert guests on the importance of following regulations during the holy month of Ramadan and the Eid festivities that follow. He recognised the importance of family during these special times. Yet, he also noted that the recent increase in cases was due to the reluctance of people to practise social distancing. His Highness added: "Unfortunately, by virtue of tradition, we started seeing an increase in the number of cases. I ask all our residents and citizens, especially during the Eid period and for the remainder of Ramadan, to protect themselves and protect our families and our children."
The episode, titled ‘Honoring our Traditions, Valuing our Safety’, featured H.E Obaid Al-Hassan Al Shamsi, Director-General of the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA), H.E. Matar Al Nuaimi, Director-General of the Abu Dhabi Public Health Center and Director of Emergency and Disaster Management Division, Department of Health, and Dr Farida Al Hosani, official spokesperson for the UAE health sector. The episode also featured heartfelt stories from volunteers and community members, working together on the frontline to combat this unprecedented challenge. The episode was aired live on Emarat TV and Sama Dubai on Thursday, 21 May 2020, and will be replayed next Monday. All episodes are available to view on YouTube.
Dr Farida Al Hosani, official spokesperson for the UAE health sector, spoke extensively on the evolution of the UAE's response to the crisis, from early detection to quick intervention and control. She explained the necessary measures taken by the country to prevent the disease from spreading. Throughout her insightful talk, she explained the indicators that the UAE is tracking daily to understand the pandemic's status better locally.
She also touched on the near future and explained that people would need to adjust to a new lifestyle that will better protect them and their families. "Our main focus remains on preventive measures, such as physical distancing, wearing face masks, and hand-washing. And today, we know that COVID-19 is here to stay for a while, and these healthy habits should be the new lifestyle that we will need to adopt in the coming period."
H.E. Matar Al Nuaimi, gave an overview of the role of the medical leadership and staff, from doctors and nurses, the team at the outpatient clinics, and hospitals, and those working in labs and operating ambulances. He also shared his personal story of contracting coronavirus and the measures he took to protect his family, co-workers, and himself during his ordeal.
Al Nuaimi explained that the most critical step to combat this disease is self-preservation and that in addition to social distancing and measures of self-protection, a healthy lifestyle is vital. "This disease mandates that we are all healthy and have strong immunity. A healthy lifestyle will lead to a healthy and safe community, which will lead our country, in turn, to protect itself from diseases, including COVID-19."
H.E Obaid Al-Hassan Al Shamsi examined the strategy laid out by the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority, which entails proactive and preemptive measures. The strategy is implemented through coordination on a national level across various sectors to ensure the country's readiness. He explored the phases of the crisis management strategy and reiterated the importance of the social responsibility of each citizen and resident in overcoming this challenge. "Everyone in the UAE community has a responsibility, whether a citizen or a resident, to protect this country."
The episode also explored the vital role volunteers play in supporting the UAE's efforts in combatting the disease and helping the vulnerable and needy in the community. Several volunteers shared heartfelt stories from their essential work.
The episode featured insights from Mr Chris Nourse, Principal of Al Ain Academy; Abdulla Al Hamli, a Lieutenant in the Abu Dhabi Police; Asma Al Jasmi, Civil Administrator, Abu Dhabi Police; and Tahani Al Boloushi and Rashid Kheer, who are both volunteers.
His Highness concluded the episode by reassuring citizens and residents that the situation is positive. With a collective effort to respect health and safety regulations, a decline in the number of cases is imminent. He reiterated the significance of each and every person's contribution to the overall safety of our community, especially during the holy month and Eid Al Fitr. "We do not want the number of cases to rise; we want to keep our numbers low. Keeping up with the measures can be difficult, but for us, it means saving lives”.