Coronavirus: Why you should avoid gatherings this Eid Al Adha
The UAE has seen a sharp drop in Covid-19 cases from a peak of about 900 a day in May.
With public health policies laid out and UAE residents reminded to avoid family gatherings this Eid Al Adha, doctors explain why it is important to heed the government's advice and practise all safety recommendations.
The UAE has seen a sharp drop in Covid-19 cases from a peak of about 900 a day in May. Recently, new recoveries have been outnumbering new cases in the country. And on Saturday, it reported no Covid-19 deaths in 24 hours for the third time this month.
All these positive indicators highlight how the UAE is getting closer to flattening the curve. The government's mass testing drive and proactive approach have been key, but residents' commitment to following safety policies also contributed significantly, health experts said.
At a recent briefing, government heads have reiterated that "health and wellness at the present time become directly proportional to the distance of the physical spacing".
Dr Omar Al Hammadi, the official spokesperson for the UAE Government, explained that "social and physical distancing gives more time for scientists and experts working in the field of medicine and vaccine trials to find solutions and reduce the burden on the health sector".\
Dr Fawad Qasim, general practitioner at Right Health, in Sonapur, Muhaisnah, added that by staying away from gatherings, everyone can help prevent a 'second wave' of infections.
"Though the cases have fallen, gatherings this Eid may lead to possible infections which can add to the burden of healthcare setups. Therefore, this Eid, we need to stay away from our loved ones so that we can be together for all the coming Eids," Dr Qasim told Khaleej Times.
Those who would be meeting immediate family members, it is strongly recommended to avoid traditional hugs. Wearing masks at all times and keeping hands sanitised are also key.
Dr Rasha Alani, family medicine specialist, at Medcare Medical Centre, Al Khawaneej, said social distancing has been found to be the "most effective measure" to protect public health amid the pandemic.
"Although the numbers of Covid-19 infections have declined, there are still people with low immunity like the elderly with chronic diseases and pregnant women. They need our care, so continuous precautions are necessary to prevent them from falling sick."
Dr Fatemah Aghanasiri, general practitioner at Aster Clinic, Arabian Ranches, said people have to remember that the contagious Covid-19 virus can be spread when people talk, laugh, sneeze or cough.
"The coronavirus that causes Covid-19 is a very contagious virus that is mostly spread by respiratory droplets," Dr Aghanasiri said. "People can get infected through their nose, mouth or eyes. By following precautionary measures - such as keeping a safe distance from one other, avoiding crowded areas, washing hands and wearing masks - we can stop the Covid-19 spread."
She added that several Covid-19-positive patients are asymptomatic, so a person can be carrier without even realising it. "Therefore unnecessary gathering should be avoided in order to break the virus chain."
How the virus is spread during gatherings
Social gatherings are normal during festive seasons. But the pandemic calls for stricter restrictions and self-restraint this time. Avoiding mass gatherings - at all costs - is pivotal to reducing the chance of spreading the disease. Here's why:
- Social distancing cannot be maintained during gatherings. Freely mingling with other people will increase risks of transmission
- A number of Covid-19 patients are asymptomatic, so you may never know if there are virus carriers in your gathering
- If anyone who attended a gathering tests positive for Covid-19, it won't be easy for the authorities to trace the contacts. Then, it can subsequently affect a large population
- Maintaining personal hygiene could be difficult during a social gathering where activities are happening here and there
- It could especially be detrimental to the health of the elderly, children or pregnant women who could have compromised immunity
Safety tips this Eid Al Adha
- Avoid going out unnecessarily and limit shopping trips as much as possible
- Connect with relatives online or arrange a virtual gathering
- The essence of Eid al Adha is all about sacrifice. Honour its meaningful practice by prioritising public health and safety over personal interests
- Send gifts to your loved ones to show how much you love them, instead of paying them a visit
(As told by Dr Ayesha Khalid, family medicine consultant, Burjeel Medical Centre, Al Zeina, Abu Dhabi)
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