UAE Implements All-of-Government Response to Combat the COVID-19 Crisis

May 18, 2020

18 May 2020

The government of the United Arab Emirates has taken significant steps to address the complex public health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a recent report by the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority, an all-of-government approach is the basis for the UAE’s response to this crisis. Continued coordination between federal and local authorities is helping address immediate needs while laying the foundation for a safe and efficient recovery.

  • The UAE’s comprehensive and adaptive public health response is combatting the spread of the virus within the UAE.
    • ​​As of May 14, over 1.5 million COVID-19 tests have been conducted across the country, a per-capita testing rate of more than one in ten.
    • The UAE set up 13 drive-through COVID-19 test centers across the country, including the country’s largest detection and testing laboratory in Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City.
    • The National Disinfection Program is sanitizing all public facilities, streets, public transportation and metro services to ensure the highest level of protection and prevention.
    • The UAE temporarily suspended all national commercial flights and implemented mandatory self-isolation and quarantine programs for travelers coming from outside the country.


  • UAE government ministries are providing additional services to all citizens and residents who live, work and learn in the UAE. Actions have also been taken to support the most vulnerable members of society.
    • Smart government services allow citizens and residents to conduct official government transactions via online outlets and smart applications.
    • The UAE government extended residence permits expired on March 1st for a period of three months and is waiving administrative fines on expired permits until the end of 2020.
    • The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization has created a ‘virtual labor market’ to facilitate the provision of job opportunities for suspended employees.
    • The Ministry of Education has activated virtual learning for nearly 1.2 million students from various schools and universities. In addition, service providers are offering a free mobile internet connection for families without home internet services to help them access remote learning
    • The National Campaign for Mental Support, with the participation of 50 mental health experts, will help UAE residents overcome the psychological impact resulting from the spread of COVID-19.


  • In light of the pandemic’s impact on supply chains, logistics and transportation, the Emirates Food Security Council has developed mechanisms to ensure a steady and sustainable food supply to the UAE.
    • The Council has developed a plan to diversify sources of imported basic food items in order to ease food trade activities.
    • The government has also instructed national airline carriers to open air cargo routes to ensure the continuous flow of food and medical supplies.
    • The government plans to increase the total food inventory for long periods by 30% (worth more than AED 500 million, or USD 136 million).
    • The Ministry of Community Development and Ministry of Economy are collaborating to launch the Al Meer Initiative to provide essential food supplies to 12,000 vulnerable families and foreign workers.
    • A media awareness campaign is urging the public not to be swayed by rumors calling for excessive buying of food products, and to follow the advised precautionary measures to ensure food safety.
  • The UAE government implemented policies to support the country’s economy and reduce the financial burden on individuals and businesses.
    • The UAE government allocated a flexible stimulus budget amounting to nearly AED 256 billion, or USD 70 billion.
    • All banks operating in the UAE have been granted access to loans and advances extended at zero cost against collateral provided by the Central Bank of the UAE.
    • Banks in the UAE will defer due payments for a period of six months to their corporate and individual clients. They will also grant temporary relief from payments of principal and interest on outstanding loans for all affected private sector companies and retail customers in the UAE.
    • The UAE will reduce electricity and water bills for customers in the tourism, hospitality and trade sectors by 20% for a period of three months – equivalent to a total amount of AED 86 million, or USD 23 million, in relief.
  • At the international level, the UAE is working with other national governments and multilateral organizations to facilitate the delivery of assistance to those in need.
    • To date, the UAE has responded to the COVID-19 crisis by providing over 549 metric tons of aid to 48 countries, supporting more than 549,000 medical professionals in the process.
    • The UAE is working with the World Health Organization (WHO) to combat the virus and support countries in need. The Dubai International Humanitarian City (IHC) houses the WHO Operations Supply and Logistics Hub, a facility that is instrumental in supplying countries with required medical supplies and protective equipment.
      • The IHC has facilitated the distribution of over 85% of the WHO’s 'Global Medical Response in the Fight Against COVID-19,’ including much needed medical supplies, such as masks, gloves and surgical gowns.
    • On April 23, the White House announced that the UAE will donate coronavirus test kits to the US. Additionally, the Nevada COVID-19 taskforce has established a partnership with the UAE to rollout high-volume testing throughout the state.
    • Free of cost, the UAE’s Adnec converted ExCeL London, the largest venue for exhibitions and conferences in the British capital, into a temporary field hospital to combat COVID-19 in London.

For additional information about the UAE government’s response to COVID-19, please click here.