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Dubaï vs Covid-19

Dubaï vs Covid-19

A tale of leadership and determination !

As the world is waging a war against an invisible enemy, striking indiscriminately without warning, Dubai and the UAE Government early on took the danger very seriously and initiated preemptive plan to combat the threat, that yielded a respectable top 10 ranking globally in treatment and prevention.

Dubai being a global hub for travel with busiest airport in the world for international travel, a finance and technology center, ranked as the 7th FinTech location globally for economic potential, recognized its vulnerability to the significant threat of severe spread of Covid-19.

Dubai airport and Emirates airlines were the first globally to conduct rapid COVID-19 tests for passengers on arrival, enforcing social distancing and contact preventive measures. The aviation authorities gradually reduced flights to highly effected areas till the decision was made to halt all passenger travel in and out of the country. Limited reoperation flights were allowed, while cargo flights continued to ensure the supply chain was not interrupted.

With full support of the UAE government, Dubai acted swiftly in implementing initially localized quarantines for night hours that progressed into a 24-hour quarantines, with a massive sanitizing effort of all the public transport systems, streets, government offices; and airport enforced the use of masks, gloves and sanitizing.

Realizing that Covid-19 has a long incubation period, Dubai launched a massive public testing initiative to discover the cases of corona in the early stages to counter the spread. The number of tests conducted per capita are at the top of global rankings. Additional, Dubai established multiple drive- thru Covid-19 testing locations.

Technology played an important role in combating the virus, where Dubai government entities utilized a smart helmet, encompassing an infra-red camera, with Artificial Intelligence (AI) features like face recognition, scan public temperature and cars’ license plates reading technologies. Dubai is the first to use this technology in the region.

A UAE group recently announced the initiation of a Population Genome Program, to provide rapid genotyping to gather important data to support researchers in developing a cure for the virus.

Economically, The Central Bank announced AED 100B ($27.25B), targeted support for corporate and retail bank clients affected by the virus. Under the initiative, AED 50B (US$ 13.65B) will become available to collateralize loans at zero cost to the banks and AED 50B (US$13.65B) to be freed from banks’ capital reserves. The support will provide temporary relief for retail and corporate clients up to 6 months. Additionally, the government launched a sweeping reduction and/or elimination of several fees and costs to ease the burden on individuals and business.

Despite the challenges of the Corona Virus, Dubai Real Estate sales are up a 9.7% in the first quarter of 2020 over the same period of the previous year and yields in many areas within the city are higher than most if not all of the leading cities in the world… Developers and real estate agents are utilizing technology for virtual property tours, video calling clients, electronic fund transfers and signatures to facilitate property transactions.

Looking ahead, our world beyond Covid-19 will never be the same for sure. The epidemic has raised awareness that real estate is a safe underlying asset that may lessen the financial impact of catastrophic events, less volatile than other investment options, and may provide a source of steady income.

Covid-19 has accelerated the process towards digital economies, where the Dubai government has taken a giant leap towards moving all its services to blockchain. The implication on the Dubai real estate industry will be unparalleled and will propel the market to the future real estate investing. Tokenization is a game changer, where the assets are divided in to shares or tokens, where the share of the assets will act as a collateral for securing the token. Tokenization shifted the investment game from a high-ticket venture and not readily liquid, to affordability by wide range of fresh investors and transacted instantaneously through blockchain technology.

While it is very difficult to predict accurately the Covid-19 impact on the economy in general and the real estate industry in particular, the leadership of the government and many private sector companies in the UAE, like Century 21 UAE and few select developers are taking matters into their own hands instead of waiting for what fate may bring, using technology, determination, common sense and a true care for the local and global communities. They are working hard to ensure that the Dubai Real estate sector experiences another stellar year in growth and opportunities for global investors the world over.

RAMZI RASAMNY
CENTURY 21 RE UAE

 

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