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Combating Covid-19: Even gatherings with 'just family' can spread coronavirus, say doctors

Saman Haziq/Dubai
Filed on May 20, 2020 | Last updated on May 20, 2020 at 06.26 am
Combating Covid-19, coronavirus, Even gatherings, just family, spread virus, say doctors
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Doctors have warned people against inviting relatives and friends over for greetings and buffets this year.

There should be no buffets, gatherings and physical greetings for this year's Eid Al Fitr as UAE authorities called on everyone to strictly follow Covid-19 safety measures. And amid this pandemic, even get-togethers with 'just family' can be dangerous, doctors have warned.

People should not let their guard down, said Dr Sherif El Shahawy, a gastroenterologist at Prime Hospital.

"If you care about and love your relatives and friends, stay away from each other physically because this is a very sensitive situation and we must adhere to precautionary measures to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus," he said.

When the outbreak was studied in China, it was found that the human-to-human transmission of the virus was largely occurring among families, according to a paper released by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
In China's Guangdong and Sichuan provinces, most clusters of infection - up to 85 per cent - have occurred in families, it said.

Dr El Shahawy noted that in the UAE, "we have recently seen a number of new cases being reported from family gatherings, where people from a number of families came together to either pray taraweeh or meet up for Iftar".

In one Covid briefing earlier this month, authorities said there were 30 people from two families who tested positive for the virus. They reportedly broke social distancing protocols and held a gathering.

"We do not know if our relatives have contracted the virus from someone they interacted with," the doctor said.

"If such a relative comes to a gathering and interacts with everyone, then a number of people can get infected."

Dr Nida Aftab Khan, general practitioner at Right Health, Al Quoz, said that in this time of Covid, it is important for everyone to be responsible citizens.

"Communicate with families and friends using social media and stay at home for the health and wellbeing of everyone. If, at all, you have to go outside, wear masks and gloves and maintain a distance of two metres from people," she said.

"Some of the Eid traditions include shaking hands and hugging but, this time, we must avoid such traditions and instead greet each other from a distance with a smile or exchange greetings via phones, messages, and video-calling."

The 'New Normal' for Eid Al Fitr

1-No gatherings or visits to houses or friends, relatives

-instead-

Schedule a video-call or a Zoom conference

2-No hugs, handshakes

-instead-

3-Send wishes and greetings online or from your phone

4-Do not give cash as Eidiya

-instead-

Opt for an online transfer

REMEMBER THE FINES

Dh10,000-For Hosting gatherings and inviting people over:

Dh5,000-Attending a gathering as a guest

saman@khaleejtimes.com


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