The Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) has asked banks in the country to reschedule monthly loan payments and decrease fees and commissions to minimise the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the economy.

“To mitigate the effect of Coronavirus on credit; financial institutions are expected to implement measures such as rescheduling of loans contracts, granting temporary deferrals on monthly loan payments, and reducing fees and commissions for affected customers,” the central bank said in a statement.

On Saturday, the UAE reported that confirmed cases of the coronavirus rose to 21.

The central bank has formed a committee consisting of the UAE Banks Federation to evaluate the situation and recommend possible solutions.

The statement added that financial firms in the country are ‘well-capitalised’ and are in a ‘good position’ to support customers that have been affected by Coronavirus.

Furthermore, CBUAE also directed all banks and financial institutions to ‘review and update’ their business continuity plans.

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CBUAE continues to closely monitor the situation, and, if necessary, will provide additional guidance and direction.

The epidemic, which started in China in December, has so far killed more than 3,000 and infected more than 89,000 people around the world.

The World Health Organization has cautioned countries to be ready for a scenario in which the COVID-19 could turn into a pandemic and many badly affect their economy.

Amid continued fears of the spread of the coronavirus epidemic, banks in Asia are having to review the preventive and emergency measures they have in place.

Global banks including UBS Group and Bank of America are expanding their contingency plans across Asia to ensure their operations are running as the spread of the coronavirus accelerates outside China.

Last month, the Financial Services Agency in Japan started an emergency survey on the country’s banks with a China presence to gain insight into how credit costs may get affected amidst the deadly coronavirus outbreak.