Coronavirus news bulletin: Do follow Covid rules, doctors urge; UAE, Israel firms partner for virus test; airlines update pre-travel testing regulations
A round-up of major developments related to Covid-19 across the country.
Here's a round-up of all the latest Covid-19 developments you need to know:
The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention on Wednesday reported 435 cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, along with 113 recoveries. One death was also reported. More than 72,000 new Covid-19 tests have been carried out in the country, the ministry added. The UAE has conducted a total of six million tests till date as part of the country's massive screening programmes to combat the spread of Covid-19, and leads the world in per million Covid tests. The UAE quickly ramped up its testing infrastructure, and has managed to control the spread effectively.
G42 Healthcare, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi-based technology company Group 42 (G42), announced today it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with NanoScent, an Israeli company specialised in scent reading technologies, to explore collaborations in the development, validation, distribution and manufacturing of Scent Check - a revolutionary solution capable of detecting suspected cases of Covid-19 from a sample of exhaled nasal air. The Scent Check device detects a combination of volatile organic compounds, or "VOC Signature", from exhaled nasal air that is derived from the host response to the SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai's Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management, on Wednesday chaired a meeting with members of the Committee to discuss the latest developments related to combating Covid-19 in the emirate. The meeting also discussed the various efforts undertaken by all frontline entities to ensure the highest levels of safety and well-being for the community, especially with the resumption of economic activities in the emirate and the reopening of air travel for citizens, residents and tourists. Sheikh Mansour praised the progress achieved by Dubai and the UAE in combating the pandemic and the success in limiting its repercussions.
With daily Covid-19 cases more than doubling over the last four days in the UAE, doctors have joined the authorities in urging residents to continue adhering to all stipulated precautionary measures. The UAE government on Tuesday said it had noticed an "alarming" increase in the number of daily cases. Reported cases have soared in the last four days: 210 (Sunday), 229, 365 and 435 (Wednesday). In a virtual Press briefing on Tuesday, Minister of Health and Prevention Abdul Rahman Al Owais said the virus was spreading mainly because of people attending family or social gatherings without adhering to safety measures. Dr Shaza Mohammed, family medicine specialist, Medcare Medical Centre Al Barsha, said she's "not sure" why people have become complacent. "Covid-19 has not gone anywhere," she said. "The restrictions have eased, but the risk of infection is still there."
Two major airlines have updated their pre-travel Covid-19 testing requirements for travellers from Dubai to India, Khaleej Times can reveal. UAE's budget carrier flydubai and India's Air India Express announced the changes on Wednesday. The Indian budget carrier has said all passengers departing from Dubai must carry a Covid-19 negative PCR test result. Flydubai announced that the pre-travel rapid IgG/ IgM testing is 'not mandatory' for travellers to any destination in India. The decision is effective immediately. A circular was issued in this regard to flydubai's travel partners. Following the Dubai Airports' announcement to change the rapid testing venue from the airport's departure terminal to the Shabab Al Ahli Football Club on Sunday, long queues had formed outside the club.
More than half of parents of school students in the UAE prefer their children to continue with e-learning when schools reopen in the forthcoming academic year, according to an online survey conducted by the Ministry of Education (MoE). A total of 28,171 people participated in the opinion poll on the MoE's Twitter account. The one-day poll showed 59 per cent of the parents preferred to continue distance learning while 41 backed classroom lessons. The survey was within the framework of the ministry's keenness to involve families in choosing the most appropriate learning system for their children during the next term that starts in September.
Doctors and nurses have risked their health and lives in treating Covid-19 patients and containing the pandemic. On World Humanitarian Day, which this year honours the frontliners, the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) medics have stressed that the fight is far from over and urged residents to commit to all precautionary measures. These medics shared how they stayed away from their families so residents can stay with theirs. Dr Faisal Muhammad Arshad, a specialist family physician, acknowledged the constant motivation from the UAE leadership and SEHA as crucial factors in dealing with the crisis. "I was very moved by the UAE leadership's gratitude and recognition of our efforts, so I felt confident doing my job as per the highest standards."
Abu Dhabi has started conducting Covid-19 tests for more than 15,000 private school teachers and staff in the Capital, ahead of school reopening. By the end of this week, this mandatory screening for all 205 private schools shall be completed, education authorities have said. The Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (Adek) said they will be shouldering all costs for these Covid-19 tests, so the teaching staff won't have to pay anything. The process is carried out in cooperation with Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha), said Amer Al Hammadi, undersecretary of Adek. All students aged 12 and older will also be screened for the virus, and the department is currently developing a mechanism for these screenings. Details and schedules shall be announced in the coming days.
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