UAE announces plans to test all citizens, residents for coronavirus

A medical staff worker tests for coronavirus at a drive-through screening center in Abu Dhabi. (File photo: Reuters)

The United Arab Emirates continues to widen its testing program and aims to cover all citizens and residents in the country, according to Bloomberg.

The country performed 25,795 tests and confirmed 484 new infections in the past 24 hours, Farida Al Hosani, the official spokesperson for the UAE. health sector, said on TV on Monday. Total coronavirus cases are now at 7,265, including 43 deaths.

The UAE has imposed movement restrictions across its emirates and has shut malls, limited restaurants to delivery only and halted the majority of its flights.

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UAE continues to expand testing

The announcement that the UAE is planning to test all residents builds on its already expanding testing program.

Since late March, UAE officials have established a variety of testing facilities across the country.

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.

Working toward flattening the curve

The increase in testing means the UAE could flatten its curve – the number of new cases recorded daily – within two to three weeks, according to 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.”

However, restrictions were still in place across all emirates on Tuesday, as the UAE continues to report a daily rise of about 400-500 cases.

Authorities in Dubai, the emirate with the strictest lockdown measures, recently tightened the restrictions on movement. Permits to leave the house to buy essential goods at a grocery store or pharmacy are now be limited to one every three days.

With Bloomberg.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:57 - GMT 06:57
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