UAE to strengthen strategic stockpile - prime minister

Authorities had also directed factories to support the needs of the country's health sector.

  
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Image courtesy Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum official Twitter handle.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Image courtesy Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum official Twitter handle.

DUBAI- The United Arab Emirates will reinforce its stockpile of strategic goods and will waive residency visa fines for the rest of the year in response to the coronavirus outbreak, its vice president said on Sunday.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who is also the UAE prime minister and ruler of Dubai, the region's tourism and business hub, did not say what goods were included in the stockpile or give further details on the visa fine waiver.

Tweeting after a cabinet meeting, he also said authorities had directed factories to support the health sector's needs in the country, which has recorded 1,505 infections and 10 deaths.

Dubai imposed a two-week lockdown on Saturday night, tightening an overnight curfew that the whole of the UAE has been under for 10 days. Daily new cases have increased recently as testing has been stepped up.

The UAE central bank also announced new measures on Sunday to guarantee liquidity in the banking system, boosting its stimulus package to a total of $70 billion from a previously announced $27 billion. 

Countries of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have recorded 6,757 cases of infection and 54 deaths.

Saudi Arabia on Sunday reported five more deaths from the virus, bringing the total death toll to 34. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases rose by 206 in the past 24 hours to reach 2,385, the highest among Gulf Arab states.

(Reporting by Alaa Swilam Writing by Lisa Barrington Editing by Mark Potter and David Holmes) ((lisa.barrington@thomsonreuters.com;))

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