Coronavirus: UAE reports 479 new cases, 4 deaths, after conducting 23,000 new tests

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The UAE reported 479 new cases of coronavirus on Sunday, a similar increase to the previous announcement, bringing the total number of cases to 6,781, according to the UAE's official WAM news agency.

The announcement also listed four new deaths and 97 new recoveries. The new numbers reflect results from more than 23,000 tests carried out across the country, which has rapidly expanded its testing network in recent weeks.

The new cases identified are in a stable condition and undergoing treatment, added WAM.

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UAE rolls out testing

The UAE has ramped up its testing program since late March.

Beginning with a drive-thru test center opened by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed on March 28, the country has now established similar drive-thru centers including in Fujairah, Al Ain, and several in Dubai.

The country has also established a massive testing laboratory, in coordination with genomics company BGI and Abu Dhabi technology company Group 42 (G42).

The country has also launched a home-testing service for people with disabilities.

Most recently, it established two testing centers for workers in Abu Dhabi's industrial area of Musaraf.

The increase in testing means the UAE could flatten its curve – the number of new cases recorded daily – within two to three weeks, according Dr. Adil Sajwani, a family medicine doctor with the Ministry of Health and Prevention and a member of the national awareness team for COVID-19 in the UAE.

“We hope that we will contain the disease in the next two to three weeks,” Sajwani told Al Arabiya English. “But people are still going out, they’re still gathering, some are still having parties, so this is also a challenge. Containing or flattening the curve is a challenge.”

Abu Dhabi launches tracking app

Abu Dhabi residents can now track people who have tested positive for the new coronavirus with a new mobile application launched by Abu Dhabi’s Department of Health (DoH) on Saturday, according to Emirates News Agency (WAM).

Other countries such as South Korea have used similar mobile apps to help slow the spread of coronavirus by allowing people to track the movements of recently identified COVID-19 cases and assess whether they might have come into contact with them.

Abu Dhabi’s version of the app, called TraceCovid, works by detecting and identifying other devices that have the app installed, WAM reported.

When in proximity of each other, both devices will exchange an encrypted Secure Tracing Identifier (STI) and store it on both devices.

If one of the users is infected with coronavirus, authorities will be able to access the other user’s data and timestamp to determine whether they need to be tested.

“In light of the current uncertain situation, we are keen to bolster our advanced technologies to maintain the health of members of the society rapidly and effectively,” Chairman of the DoH Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Hamed said.

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