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Dubai: Voices of people singing the UAE national anthem echoed through communities and neighbourhoods on Friday night as the clock struck 9pm and residents came out on to their balconies to pay their respects to the nation.

The Together We Chant for UAE initiative was launched by the Maitha Bint Ahmed Al Nahyan Foundation and the National Happiness and Positivity Programme, in coordination with Abu Dhabi Police.

Earlier on April 15, UAE residents joined in to sing the national anthem, Ishy Biladi (Long Live My Country), at 9pm, with people taking to their balconies to wave the country’s flag and play musical instruments. A second call was made for everyone to join in once again on April 17 at 9pm.

This comes as communities pay their respects to the country’s first responders, including the medical staff, the municipality workers and the police departments as they come together to battle the COVID-19 global pandemic that has seen a total of 5,825 infections in the UAE as of April 16, with a total of Dh1,095 recoveries.

The Friday event saw residents taking to social media to post videos of people singing and cheering all around. Those who couldn't sing, shared videos of the national anthem.

“In these difficult times, the UAE and its generous leadership has ensured that every possible support and extraordinary help is available to the people of the UAE, to expatriates before Emiratis. And not just the leadership, but also every official and government employee, no matter how senior or junior he or she is, is keen to extend full hand of support to everybody,” Emirati writer Hassan Sajwani told Gulf News.

He continued: “Yes, this is the UAE that our late father Sheikh Zayed envisioned for. And this positive national thinking is spreading faster than the virus. A ‘Thank you’ will never be enough for this great nation and its leadership.”

The Together We Chant for UAE initiative also came hours after Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management, chaired by Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, announced that the round-the-clock sterilisation programme in the emirate will be extended for an additional week.

The committee’s decision to extend the 24-hour sterilisation programme, which first came into effect on April 4, is part of its efforts to heighten precautionary measures against COVID-19.

Last month, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, praised the commitment of expatriate residents who have patiently adhered to all the precautionary measures that have been taken to limit the spread of coronavirus in the country.

In a video message, Sheikh Mohamed also stated that he turned emotional when he heard expatriate residents singing the UAE’s national anthem from the balconies and windows of their homes during such a challenging time.

“My eyes were almost full of tears when I heard about expatriates singing our national anthem, with videos circulating on social media,” said Sheikh Mohamed at the time.