UAE very likely to contain coronavirus, says medical expert

A commuter moves through an almost empty metro station following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, March 18, 2020. (Reuters)

The coronavirus is very likely to be contained in the UAE if people practice social distancing and follow other guidelines, Dr. Mohamad Mooty of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi told Al Arabiya English.

“In the UAE, the government has been very proactive in implementing measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 much earlier than in many other places,” Mooty, who is the department chair, Infectious Diseases, Medical Subspecialty Institute at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi said. “Given the measures taken, and assuming people are compliant with regular handwashing and social distancing, I would say it is very likely that the disease can be contained here.”

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There are currently 140 cases in the UAE according to health ministry figures. On Thursday, there were 27 new cases, and a total of 31 recoveries.

“In the UAE, where there are only a small number of confirmed cases, social distancing plays an important role in helping to contain the spread of COVID-19 among the population,” he said. “If people comply with social distancing precautions, it is likely that the country will be successful in preventing a major outbreak of COVID-19.”

The UAE has taken a series of measures to limit the virus’s ability to spread and to protect the public, such as temporarily banning large gatherings. Dubai asked that people not hold parties or weddings at home to help curb the spread of coronavirus.

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With an ongoing pandemic, mass gatherings can have particularly harmful consequences as each infected person is likely to infect two to three others. Further, because an infected person may not show symptoms, they may pass on the coronavirus to others unknowingly.

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“Mass gatherings can be particularly harmful to efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19. The Centers Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have advised people to avoid mass gatherings, maintain a safe distance (six feet or two meters) from others wherever possible,” Mooty said. “These steps not only help to protect individuals, but their families and people they come into contact with.”

Beyond social distancing and practicing good hygiene, testing is an important screening measure to ensure those who have the virus are isolated and unable to continue infecting others. Last week, the health ministry said it had performed over 125,000 tests coronavirus tests.

“The UAE testing coverage is the highest in the world,” the ministry announced in a video shared on Twitter. “Almost 13,000 people tested per million.”

Tedros Adhanom, director-general of the WHO called for more testing last week to help break the trains of transmission. Globally, hospitals are under-prepared to ramp up testing.

Read more global coverage: Containment has failed. What is next for coronavirus?

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 10:02 - GMT 07:02
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