Coronavirus outbreak in UAE ranks at relatively low risk: Experts’ COVID-19 map

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A new COVID-19 risk level map ranks the outbreak in the United Arab Emirates at a relatively low risk and provides guidelines for government response, which the country has been largely in line with.

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The map, which was developed by teams at Harvard’s Global Health Institute and Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, determines the severity of an outbreak in a given country based on the number of new daily reported cases.

The coronavirus outbreak in the UAE ranks at the yellow risk level – the third highest risk category – which means it is spreading among people who have not been following social distancing measures.

Community spread – when the novel coronavirus freely spreads through a population through contact with an infected person – may be the most common cause for the rise of coronavirus infections in the UAE, acording to the experts.

The new metrics suggests different responses based on the level that would help effectively contain the outbreak of COVID-19.

The UAE has been reporting an average of 4.2 cases for every 100,000 people, according to the data, with experts recommending rigorous testing and tracing programs to contain the virus.

The UAE recently concluded its nationwide sanitation program and lifted the curfew across the country.

Restaurants, malls, public beaches, swimming pools, and gyms have all been allowed to reopen. Citizens and residents are also now allowed to travel internationally.

However, the country has imposed strict fines for individuals who do not wear a face mask in public and for those who fail to adhere to preventative measures.

The different risk levels and the recommended responses for each are as follow:

Countries that report less than one case per every 100,000 people are on the green risk level and are on track for containment, according to the experts. Countries with this level of risk include Canada, China, Algeria, Spain, and Italy.

To ensure that the number of infections does not rise, countries at the green level must monitor cases with viral testing and contact tracing programs, they said.

Governments reporting an average of one to nine cases per every 100,000 people a day fall on the yellow risk level. Egypt, the United Kingdom, and Russia all fall within this category.

At the yellow level, community spread is the most common cause for rising infections.

The experts recommend rigorous testing and tracing programs to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

If a country reports an average of 10-24 cases a day per every 100,000 people, that country receives an orange risk level. At this stage, the virus is spreading quickly and stay-at-home orders and ramping up testing and tracing programs are advised.

Saudi Arabia, Oman, the United States, Brazil, and South Africa fall in this category.

Countries that report more than 25 cases for every 100,000 people a day are at the red risk level, the most severe stage of the outbreak. There are three countries in this category, which are Qatar, Bahrain, and French Guiana.

A complete lockdown is necessary at this stage to prevent the virus from spreading further, according to the experts.

A unified approach for suppressing the coronavirus, with common metrics so countries can anticipate and get ahead of the virus, is necessary, the Vice President for Global Biological Policy and Programs at the Nuclear Threat Initiative Beth Cameron told Global Pandemics.

Globally, there have been 11,074,878 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 525,121 virus-related deaths, according to a tally by John Hopkins University.