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Coronavirus: UAE to boost strategic stockpile and stimulus package amid pandemic

UAE central bank announces new measures to guarantee liquidity in banking system and boosts stimulus package to $70bn
Man wearing face mask gazes at Dubai skyline on Sunday during lockdown imposed by authorities to slow spread of novel coronavirus (AFP)

The United Arab Emirates will reinforce its stockpile of strategic goods and 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.

UAE central bank announces $27bn stimulus plan to boost virus-hit economy
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Tweeting after a cabinet meeting, he also said authorities had directed factories to support the health sector's needs in the country, Reuters reported.

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. Reported daily new cases in the UAE have increased recently as testing has been stepped up.

On Sunday, UAE officially had 1,799 cases of the virus and 10 deaths, with 144 people having recovered, according to the Worldometer website.

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 $70bn from a previously announced $27bn.

Elsewhere, the UAE's embassy in the United Kingdom announced two charter flights this week to return more than 80 Emiratis home.

It also said an Emirates Airline plane had flown 345 British citizens back to the UK, after they were unable to return home following the closure of UAE airports to international traffic.