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Sheikh Zayed Road on Thursday night, as the UAE's sterilisation drive began. Image Credit: Shreya Bhatia/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: UAE authorities addressed the media on Thursday to release details of the disinfection drive, aimed to combat the spread of COVID-19 in the country, which is taking place over the weekend and started at 8pm on Thursday.

Residents have been directed to stay home during this time, limiting movement strictly and to not leave their homes except to buy food, basic essentials and medicines.

Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai was deserted on Thursday night, as people did as the authorities asked and stayed indoors.

Dubai covid sterilisation
The sterilisation drive will be during the weekend over three nights, starting at 8pm and ending at 6am. Image Credit: Supplied

Only those who work in vital sectors, such as energy, telecommunications, public media, health, security and police sectors, should leave their homes.

Dr Farida Al Hosani, official spokesperson for the UAE health sector, addressed local media on Thursday. 

Residents have been strictly directed to stay indoors from 8pm to 6am during the weekend restricting movement while the disinfection process happens.


The sectors exempted include energy, communications, medical, police, army, pharmaceutical, electricity and water, airport and passports, banks and public media. Work permits will be checked if a person is found outside their homes during the three-day period.


She added that whoever does not comply with these directives will pay a fine and/or face prison time. Brigadier Abdulaziz Abdullah Al-Ahmad from the Ministry of Interior added: "Deterrent measures will be taken including fines and imprisonment against those who violate the national disinfection program instructions. We urge the public to cooperate with the relevant authorities."

National disinfection programme
National disinfection programme Image Credit: Supplied

The sterilisation will be conducted on public transport services including Dubai Metro, tram, taxis, buses etc. and all other public or private spaces and roads. The drive will happen in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Prevention and the Ministry of Interior.

Throughout the sterilisation period, traffic and public movement will be restricted, and public transport and metro services suspended.

Dr Hosani urged the public to avoid gatherings of family and friends. This applies to family events, family majlis, desert outings etc.

RTA’s metro, tram and marine services to be suspended 

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) will suspend normal public transport services for the duration of the disinfection operations to be held during overnight hours on National Sterlisation Programme days.

Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) will cease Dubai Metro, Tram and marine transport services daily from 08:00 pm to 06:00 am - from Thursday to Sunday morning. All public transit means will operate according to their normal schedules during the Sterilisation Programme from 07:00 am to 07:00 pm.

The Sterilisation Programme will be conducted from 08:00 pm to 06:00 am from Thursday to Sunday morning. The last round of sterilisation operations will end at 06:00 am on Sunday 29 March 2020.

Dubai Taxis will serve the public via Careem and Uber Apps, offering rides only to hospitals.

Public buses will continue to operate during the overnight sterilisation period on 13 routes namely: 8, 10, 12, A13, 17, 24, C01, C07, F18, F21, F34, F43 and X23. The bus service will run at a frequency of 30 minutes. These routes serve 19 public and private hospitals, namely: Rashid Hospital, Oud Metha; Iranian Hospital, Al Wasl; Zulekha Hospital, Al Qusais; Dubai Hospital, Al Khaleej Road, Deira; Baraha Hospital, Al Baraha, Deira; Latifa Hospital, Al Wasl; NMC Hospital, Al Qusais; Zulekha Hospital, Al Qusais; American Hospital, Oud Metha; Saudi German Hospital, Al Barsha; Emirates Speciality Hospital, Healthcare City; Dubai Dental Hospital, Healthcare City; BR Medical Suites Day Surgical Center, Healthcare City; Sapphire Day Surgery Centre, Healthcare City; American Heart Center, Healthcare City; Dr Riadh Hospital, Healthcare City; Emirates Integra Medical & Surgery Centre, Healthcare City; Medclinic City Hospital, Healthcare City; and Dr. Sulaiman Al Habib Hospital, Healthcare City.

RTA public transit services will revert to regular timings from 07:00 am to 07:00 pm during the days of the National Sterilisation Programme.


UAE Armed Forces announces joint exercise


UAE Armed Forces has announced the implementation of a joint exercise 'Taawon Al Haq 12' in coordination with the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP), National Crisis and Emergency Management Authority (NCEMA) and Ministry of Interior (MOI), in Al Shamkha and Jebel Ali area, starting from 4:00 am Friday.

The exercise will be held on Friday and Saturday and the Armed Forces has advised that loud noises are expected.