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The emergency contraceptive pill has arrived in Dubai



La pillola contraccettiva d'emergenza è arrivata a Dubai
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

These days it has been discussed in several Facebook groups of expat women and, between doubts and amazement, the news is confirmed: the emergency contraceptive pill, or "morning after pill" as it is commonly called, is now also available in Dubai.

Marketed under the name Navela (levonorgestrel 1.5), it has been on sale in the main pharmacies of the city for about a month, exclusively under medical prescription.

The topic had already been discussed in 2015 when some articles appeared in local newspapers (here you can find the one published on The National): then, some doctors had asked for the introduction of the drug in the country, stressing that it is in no way an abortion pill. In fact, the drug acts by preventing the fertilization process, exactly like the birth control pill, which has been authorized for years in the United Arab Emirates. The emergency contraceptive pill must in fact be taken, in a single dose, within 72 hours of an unprotected relationship considered to be at risk of pregnancy.

But what does Islam say about contraception? Arriving in Dubai, and coming from a Catholic culture, one is surprised to see the contraceptive pill sold in all the pharmacies, next to the cashier, often without even requiring a doctor's prescription.

According to Islam, if abortion is haram, therefore categorically prohibited, in no verse of the Koran or Ahadith (the stories about the life of the prophet Muhammad, an integral part of the Sunna), instead, birth control is prohibited. Pill or other forms of contraception are therefore not prohibited by religion.

Unlike the Catholic religion, which associates the sexual act with procreation, in Islam sex is in fact considered a natural act with a dual purpose, the procreation and satisfaction of desire. Family planning and birth control are therefore allowed practices.


Elisabetta Norzi arrived in Dubai in 2008. Born and raised in Turin, after a degree in Modern Literature she moved to Bologna for a master's degree in journalism. Here he knows the reality of the Emilia associations and decides to deal with social issues. Join the editorial office of the Redattore Sociale news agency, collaborate for the Rai Social Action Department and for the Espresso-Repubblica group. Globetrotter for passion, he begins to write freelance reportage with a report on Burma during the "saffron revolution", taken from the main Italian newspapers and televisions. After several years as a correspondent from Dubai (Peacereporter, Linkiesta), he founded Dubaitaly.

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Covid-19 in the Emirates: what you need to know

What are the main restrictions introduced in the country to combat the epidemic? What are the fines for those who do not follow them?



Covid-19 negli Emirati: cosa c'è da sapere
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

In the last few days the Emirate government has still implemented the measures to contain the spread of Coronavirus and has announced that it is working on two fronts, following the path of what has been done effectively in South Korea, Singapore or Hong Kong: trace accurately the contacts of each individual patient and increase the number of tampons; in the coming weeks a new technology will be introduced that will be able to verify, in just 20 minutes, the positivity or not to coronavirus and in Abu Dhabi has opened a laboratory capable of testing tens of thousands of samples per day.

Let's see what are the main restrictive rules introduced in the country to combat the epidemic:

  • from 20 to 6 in the morning, to allow disinfection of the city, you cannot leave the house, unless you have an urgent and valid reason (vital work, need to go to the hospital or buy medicines). The Government has made it known that it is no longer necessary, as instead requested at first, to register on the website it had dedicated to be allowed to move.
  • during the day, all citizens are asked not to leave the house except in case of real need, such as for shopping, going to the pharmacy or for "essential" work. Anyone who is stopped around the city for no good reason can be punished with a fine of 2000 aed.
  • from 25 March the UAE decided to close all shopping centers, fish, meat and vegetable markets for a two-week renewable period. Pharmacies and retail food outlets, including cooperatives, grocery stores and supermarkets, along with the fish, meat and vegetable markets they deal with wholesalers are excluded from the limitations.
  • the government invited families to go shopping in supermarkets one at a time, to reduce the number of people in the shops and avoid queues at the checkout.
  • the Ministry of the Interior and the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA) calls for limiting social contacts, avoiding gatherings and maintaining social distancing (1.5 meters).
  • maximum 3 people can travel in each car. Again, the penalties are 2000 aed.
  • the recommendation is not to go to the hospital, except for situations of real emergency (fine of 1000 aed if unneeded and non-urgent health services are requested).
  • public transport is active, except from 20 to 6 in the morning, during the sanitation of the city. Some metro stations are currently closed because an entire neighborhood of the city, Al Ras (in Deira, around the spice and gold market) has been closed (a sort of "red zone"). Bus timetables have changed, so you need to check the routes on the RTA website.
  • those who suffer from chronic diseases or show symptoms of cold or cough, must wear a mask. Otherwise he could receive a fine of 1000 aed. For all the others, unless it is expressly requested for example in some supermarket (as happens at Union Coop), it is not necessary to wear it.
  • restaurants are closed to the public, they only work through the home delivery service.
  • it is forbidden to organize parties or invite friends home. The fine is 10,000 aed for the landlord and 5000 for each guest present.
  • for those who violate the quarantine the fine is 50,000 aed.
  • fines are doubled for those who repeat the violations, after which a proceeding is opened.
  • the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA) and the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) have decided to suspend all incoming and outgoing passenger flights and the transit of airline passengers in the UAE for at least two weeks starting from March 25. The GCAA has stated that cargo flights and emergency evacuation flights are exempt from this provision.
  • for three months, the government has decided to suspend the fines for overstay in case your visa has expired (valid for all types of visas, even for those who are out of the country for over 180 days)
  • the Ministry of Health recalled that spreading unofficial news on Covid-19, in particular on Social Media, is an offense, punishable even with a year in prison.

For those who return to Italy

The Italian Minister of Health obliges self-isolation for the 14 days following the return. It is necessary to submit a declaration in which you certify that you are returning to your home, home or residence for proven work needs or situations of need, or for health reasons. It is mandatory to communicate to the prevention department of the local health company its entry into Italy to start health surveillance. Finally, for those who go into self-isolation and accuse Covid-19 symptoms, there is an obligation to report the situation promptly to the health authority. Here you can find the main FAQs if you have to return to Italy.

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Coronavirus explained by my mom

Why do they all seem so scared? Isn't there a sting like flu? What can be done to stay away from others? Mom replies



Il Coronavirus spiegato da mia mamma
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

For the distance learning project of my school on Coronavirus I thought of interviewing my mom. This is what I asked her, with her answers.

Mom, what is Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses like those that generally make you cold and flu every year.

So why is there so much talk about THIS Coronavirus?
Because what we are dealing with now is new and is particularly difficult to deal with.

So is it a DEADLY VIRUS?
Well, no. The vast majority of people take it very lightly, without even realizing it or thinking they have a cold or a mild flu. Unfortunately for some people, especially for the elderly and for those with a more fragile organism, sometimes it can become so strong that you have to rush them to the hospital.

Does "older" mean grandparents?
Yes indeed.

And what if it gets so strong that they have to rush to the hospital?
There are doctors and nurses in the hospital who will take good care of them.

So why does everyone seem so scared?
More than scared, we are all a little worried. First of all because this virus is really very contagious, that is, sticky. This means that even if we had to take it in a light form, we can pass it on to many other people and maybe among them there are some who will be the strongest and will have to run to the hospital and so on. Unfortunately there are not enough places in hospitals around the world to take good care of everyone.

And isn't there a sting like the flu or an antibiotic like the one I took when my ear hurt?
Good question! Antibiotics work only on bacteria, which are another type of germ compared to viruses. While what you call puncture, that is, the vaccine, does not yet exist for this virus because it is new. Scientists are working on it but they will still have a lot.

Ah! So is that why schools are closed, malls are closed, should we stay inside as far as possible and away from other people? So don't we pass the sticky virus on to others?
Brava, that's right! We need to protect older and frail people and try not to overfill hospitals so those in need find a place.

What else can you do other than stay away from others?
Well, practically following all the rules you have known since you were a child: washing regularly, especially your hands, sneezing or coughing in your elbow or a tissue that you can throw, don't touch your face, keep your things clean and tidy, eat healthy, take vitamins ...

I change every day too!
Yes, and that also helps.

But mom, I was thinking about one thing. Does what you said mean we all have to stay away until the vaccine is found? You said it will take a long time ...
Well I really hope not! In reality it will also depend on the situation of the hospitals and the life cycle of the virus. You know what the life cycle is, you studied it ...

Yes. One last question, okay? I wanted to know about pets like dogs and cats ...
Although this virus has made a "species jump" ...

Sorry, "jump of species"?
The leap is when a virus passes from animals to humans, with an adaptation such as those you have studied in science. In this case, he went from bats to humans. But it seems he has stopped there and we are safe with our pets (and them with us).

Now I think I understand. Thanks Mom!

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Isolation and gestures found

In these days, during which we are all forced to live our lives within walls, with only the windows giving onto the world, women cook. I do it too.



L'isolamento e i gesti ritrovati
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

The campaign has also started in Dubai #StayHome, in all languages: if not strictly necessary, you have to stay at home. In the next 48 hours, the malls, non-essential goods stores and restaurants will close (which will only be authorized for delivery). Supermarkets and pharmacies will remain open. In addition, all flights entering and leaving the country are suspended for two weeks.

To cook

In these days, during which we are all forced to live our lives within walls, with only the windows giving onto the world, women cook. I do it too. I have always cooked for decades, in front of the stove in that room, among the utensils and pots and oven, rolling pin, maloreddus tablet, blender, I was fine there. It was a small space stolen from the newspaper. My family was there, in the house, nothing changed in my being present for them, I did everything I needed, I worked and looked after my son. But when sadness and melancholy attacked me, I cooked. I completely isolated myself. I was elsewhere.

The almost furious compulsive cooking of these days makes me understand that the act of isolation is what my past and this present have in common. Yes, it is a different isolation, the former was wanted, but necessary, the latter imposed, but also necessary.

However, the meaning of cooking is the same: to create something that takes shape in my hands, something that nourishes me and the people I love, and feeding also means keeping alive. And so kneading bread, making cakes, here ... especially these foods contain a profound symbolism for me. The history of bread is very ancient, it brings with it memory, traditions, and it is not the only act of feeding the body, but also what man is like spirit. Bread is also socialization, sharing with one's fellow men, is a ritual of belonging. The only almost sacred gesture of making a cross to make it rise, create votive loaves to propitiate a good harvest, bless ceremonies, for weddings (here in Sardinia there are carved loaves that look like lace, which are of moving beauty) makes it clear how important it is.

And the cakes, these too a symbol: the cake contains eggs, sugar, flour - that same flour used for bread. The cake is sweetness, the cake is a memory, the cake is all yours and our birthdays, and birthdays are the present and the future, they are the years to come. A cake cheers the eyes, makes the palate rejoice. We prepare it to give it away, we prepare it for the family, we prepare it because it is a happy gift.

It is one of those small pleasures that no other food can give you in the urgency of desire. The dessert is not eaten to feed, the dessert is a small conquest, a concession, there is always a small space that the stomach leaves.

And all the sweets I cook in this time of isolation where I see life flow much slower than yesterday from the windows of my skyscraper, are like a lullaby, and I just want to close my eyes and reopen them when all this is over.

To sew

This is another act through which I have always found myself. When I had dark dead ends, I sewed. When I suffered tears and leaks, I sewed.

Over time, over the years, with different experiences, I understood that this work has a precise meaning for me: it is the attempt to put the pieces back in their place, to adjust, gather the distances and have the illusion of recreating the attendance.

Sewing is not a magic, it cannot bring back the people who have been missing, it does not remedy the mistakes made, it does not rejoin the abysses of earthquakes. But it helps to believe it. My sewing today, in front of this ingenious contraption, with the pieces of fabric that the thread will join in my hand, is the need for hope.

We are cut off from the world, the world is cut off from us. We have been asked to keep a safe distance from others, lawful, but how inhuman is this request? Man is a group animal, man needs an exchange of thought, affection, love, a simple kiss, a hug, he needs to look you straight in the eyes, to meet and get closer to be able to embrace his son.

And to shorten this distance, to feel the edges of existence that come closer and come together, I use the thread and sew. The sound of the sewing machine, the needle that slips into the fabric, the knots with the right colored threads, all this at least gives me the illusion of a future that I hope not far away, where I can rejoin my life as always, to others in the world.

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