Emirates allows 13 cruise ships that had been rejected by other ports to disembark in Dubai

The Gulf country has sent new humanitarian aid to Sudan and has called for global food supply chains to be guaranteed
Dubai has hosted thirteen foreign cruise ships that were at sea while most countries had closed their maritime borders due to the coronavirus pandemic

AFP/KARIM SAHIB  -   Dubai has hosted thirteen foreign cruise ships that were at sea while most countries had closed their maritime borders due to the coronavirus pandemic

The Emirates has shown a new image of solidarity with the reception in Dubai of 13 cruise ships that had been refused by other ports, according to the Emirate news agency, WAM. "We have welcomed these ships, whether they were flying the Emirate flag or not," Mohammed Al Mannai, executive director of Port Rashid, told the news agency.  

Up to 29,000 passengers and more than 10,000 crew members travel on the cruise ships, the director explained. "We have taken the necessary precautions with these incoming ships, including diagnostic tests," he said. He said the passengers and crew are fine and none of them have tested positive for the virus. 

The passengers and crew - 80% of whom were European - have already been taken home, Al Mannai said. The empty cruise ships are still berthed in Dubai, where they can stay until October, when the tourist season is expected to restart and the port returns to normal activity. 

Aid delivery to Sudan 

The Emirates' action to combat the coronavirus is not limited to its borders. The Gulf monarchy has not hesitated to extend its technical capacity and resources to others to fight the pandemic. The latest example of this is the dispatch of a plane carrying medical supplies to Sudan this Tuesday with seven tonnes of medical supplies, including a test kit that will reach more than 7,000 professionals in the African country.  

Commenting on the new humanitarian aid shipment, Hamad Mohammed Humaid Al Junaibi, the Gulf country's ambassador to Sudan, said: "The Emirates and Sudan are united by historical ties of brotherhood and exchanges in the political, economic and cultural fields. Since the foundation of our nation, Sudan has supported the UAE as a strong partner in the region," the diplomat explained in a statement collected by the Emirate news agency, WAM. 

"Today's assistance represents the enduring nature of our partnership, which is based on the mutual recognition that extending a helping hand improves the well-being of both our countries and our peoples. In the fight against COVID-19, such partnerships are of crucial importance, as the international community faces this challenge as one," the head of the diplomatic mission in Sudan told WAM.  

"The Government of the Emirates is aware that there is no way out of this situation and that the only solution is to unite efforts among all the countries, giving priority to those who need its support the most," reads a statement issued by the Embassy. The authorities know that the return to normalcy will not be a problem after the coronavirus and therefore are working to rethink how the world will be once the pandemic is under control, according to the press release.  

The effort made by the Emirates is reflected in the shipping figures. The nation has donated a total of 260,000 tons of medical supplies and food to 24 countries and has provided medical assistance with 260,000 health professionals, according to a document issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. 

Vuelo Italia
The flight with medical assistance given by the United Arab Emirates to Italy lands at Fiumicino airport on 8 April

Countries like Iran, with which the Emirates has hardly any diplomatic relations, have received up to 7.5 tons of medical supplies from Abu Dhabi since mid-March. As the outbreak worsened, a second shipment was made with 33 tonnes of health supplies. Afghanistan has also received material from the Emirates, Pakistan has received 11 tons of medical supplies and Ethiopia has received up to 33 tons

Aid from the Emirates has also reached the most developed countries. The Emirates handed over the ExCeL center in London, owned by the Government of Abu Dhabi, to the British authorities so that they could set up a field hospital to treat coronavirus patients. In addition, the Emirates has facilitated the repatriation of 345 British tourists who were visiting the country at the time of the coronavirus outbreak.  

Guaranteeing global food supply chains 

In addition, the nation is present at the international meetings, always advocating agreement among states to deal with the pandemic. The nation's food security minister, Miriam bint Mohammed Almerhaibi, participated in Tuesday's vital G20 meeting and called for the maintenance of food supply chains, which are at risk from the severe mobility restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of the pathogen.   

In addition, the agriculture ministers of the G20 countries called on Tuesday for the avoidance of "unjustified" restrictive measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic that could affect food supplies in world markets. "We will avoid any unjustified restrictive measures that could lead to excessive food price volatility in international markets and threaten the food security of the world's population," the ministers said in a common statement issued at the end of the meeting. 

They also noted that measures taken by countries need to be proportionate and transparent so that they " don't create unnecessary barriers to trade or disruption of global food supply chains". They also highlighted the need to protect the food security of the entire world, especially the most vulnerable countries, and reaffirmed their commitment not to impose restrictions on exports of food and agricultural products for humanitarian purposes purchased by the World Food Programme (WFP) and other agencies.