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Coronavirus Pandemic

Combating Covid-19: Roads to Dubai's Al Ras are closed, but no shortage of essentials

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Dubai Filed on March 31, 2020 | Last updated on March 31, 2020 at 11.30 pm
Coronavirus impact, UAE, Roads, Dubai, Al Ras, closed, shortage, essentials

(Supplied photo)

Residents have also been given a hotline they can call on by local authorities.

Residents of Dubai's Al Ras community have said they are not facing any shortage of food and medical supplies, following the launch of the enhanced sterilisation drive in the locality. Delivery boys from nearby supermarkets and pharmacies have been allowed to distribute essential supplies, such as food and medicines, to residents as long as they do not step out to do the purchases themselves, Khaleej Times has learnt.

Following the Dubai's Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management announcement that it would be restricting movement in and out of Dubai's Al Ras area for two weeks from Tuesday, March 31, Dubai Police said teams from the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) would provide essential supplies to the residents of the area during the two-week period. People who are not residents of Al Ras are prohibited from travelling to the area, according to an official Dubai Police statement.

Residents have also been given a hotline they can call on by local authorities, in case they require food and other necessary supplies, some residents in the area told Khaleej Times.

India national Talha Ashraf Bheda, a resident of Al Ras who lives and works near the Deira Cloth Market, popularly known as the Murshid Bazaar. He said, "I work for a building material shop here in Al Ras. All the roads have been closed since last night. However, I've been told that in case of a medical emergency, I can ask for help and it would be provided. I can call supermarkets nearby for deliveries, however, I cannot step out otherwise."

Bheda, who lives with some roommates said, "We've been praying in our rooms for this ordeal to end soon." Farah (full name withheld at request) said, "My family and I don't need any supplies at the moment, however, from my balcony, I can see police cars driving past, and an intense sterilization campaign is ongoing. Few people are wearing masks and walking past my building holding grocery bags."

Dubai's historic neighbourhood

Dubai's historic neighbourhood, Al Ras is home to the old the Gold Souk and the aromatic Spice Souk. The narrow streets hold restored Emirati-style guest houses and museums, including the Museum of the Poet Al Oqaili and the Al Ras Library, both of which are temporarily closed. It is one of Dubai's most densely populated localities and is a well-known tourist destination. Shops in the gold souk have also been closed for over a week now, according to a source.

Another resident of the area told Khaleej Times under the condition of anonymity, "My dad went out for an early morning walk, and the police asked him to go back home and stay indoors." However, the family could order food from a supermarket nearby. "The store is only two buildings away from our apartment; we called for supplies and it was delivered to our house without a problem. We called for dried foodstuffs, like rice and beans."

A restaurant owner in the locality said, "My restaurant is open; however, we've had no customers. However, we have enough supplies to last us for a while. We were also given a number to call on, in case we need more food or other essentials."

Dubai's Roads and Transports Authority (RTA) said the plan includes the closure of entrances leading to the area from three main roads and interchanges: Al Musalla, Al Khaleej, and Baniyas Streets. The plan also includes the closure of three stations on the metro green line: Al Ras, Palm Deira and Baniyas Square.

The metro will pass through the area without stopping at these stations.

Additionally, as per the plan, all bus routes to Baniyas area will be diverted to Al Musalla, Al Khaleej and Omar Bin Al Khattab streets, and all taxi movement to the area will be restricted. 


Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person, and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics, and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling, and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88

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