More than 60 thousand South Africans live and work in the United Arab Emirates. Here’s a #COVID19 message from HE Saad Cachalia, SA ambassador to the UAE.


More than 60,000 South Africans who live and work in the United Arab Emirates are currently under lock down there.

In a recorded message, South Africa’s ambassador to the UAE HE Saad Cachalia described what the situation is like for him and the thousands of other South Africans in the region.

He said many of them are fearful of the future and worry about the lives of their families who remain in South Africa.

“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has posed serious challenges and has necessitated profound changes and adjustments to our everyday lives. Like the other nationalities in the UAE, many South Africans are fearful of the future –  not only in terms of the immediate risk of contracting the virus and spreading it to other people, but also fearful of their jobs, their incomes, and the future of their families both in the UAE and in SA,” Cachalia said.

But authorities in the UAE have implemented various measures to limit the spread of the virus. This includes: self isolation, home quarantine, social distancing, and a strict lock down for the past five weeks.

“These measures include strict rules on social distancing and staying home. All direct social engagements and interactions have been stopped. Schools and places of worship have been closed. Main streets and roads in various neighbourhoods of the cities are out of bounds to people and are sanitised on a daily basis from 8pm to 6am. Shopping malls, leisure and entertainment parks have been shut down and sporting events have been cancelled.”

“Strong emphasis is also put on frequent washing of hands and the use of sanitisers. These measures implemented by authorities in the UAE are working and are proving very effective.”

Cachalia said South Africa’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been widely praised abroad.

“Our government, under the stewardship of President Cyril Ramaphosa, has been widely praised here in the UAE and by individual governments the world over for the manner in which the President and ministers in cabinet have taken charge to deal with the pandemic,” Cachalia said.

“I urge us all to adhere to our government’s lock down and social distancing regulations as challenging and as tough as they may seem. It is imperative and key to combating COVID-19 that we adhere to our government’s regulations and be guided by the counsel given to us by our Minister of Health, our scientists, healthcare workers and professionals.”