Covid-19: Experts hail Abu Dhabi’s ‘farsighted plan’ to control virus
Doctors say new measures will help prevent surge in cases after the long break.
The new Covid-19 initiatives in the Capital are proactive and farsighted to deal with the threat from different variants, including the Delta, and a significant step to prevent a surge in cases ahead of the long Eid break, medical experts said.
“Yes, this is indeed a very strong initiative at the right time. In the past, surge in infection rates were noted in different parts of the world after public holidays and festivals. This was attributed to more people accessing public areas and close gatherings as a part of festivities,” said Dr Sreehari Karunakaran Pillai, medical administrator and specialist internal medicine, NMC Specialty Hospital, Abu Dhabi.
With more than 5 deaths per day, the average mortality rate across the country is steadily rising in the past few months since Eid Al Fitr: May (3), June (4.36) and 16 days of July (5.06).
However, after the two-month high of more than 60,000 caseloads in June, there is a dip in new infections so far this month.
But data from the local authorities have shown that historically Covid deaths and new cases have spiked rapidly after the three previous public holidays.
To prevent a repetition, the authorities will relaunch the national sterlisation programme, for the first time this year, along with capacity curbs in restaurants, cafes, buses, and stricter screening requirements to enter Abu Dhabi.
Dr Pillai added: “The sterilisation programme in Abu Dhabi will be very effective in ensuring safety of public areas. It creates an awareness in the minds of the public that the danger is still real and not to lower one’s guard.”
Doctors also noted the threat from the Delta variant – the most deadly of the lot seen in the UAE, which by June 27 was the second most common strain at 33.9 per cent.
Dr Sunil Vyas, pulmonology (specialist), Aster Hospital, Al Qusais, said there are several factors behind the new decisions.
“These have been taken to restrict the increase in Covid cases (after Eid Al Adha holidays) as after Eid Al Fitr holidays and New Year’s Eve, there was a significant increase in the number of cases. Hence, the reason for these measures, which are a combination of multiple factors like increase in mortality rate, lower recoveries than newer cases, and the threat of Delta variant. All these factors combined, along with the Eid holidays have led to this decision.”
Dr Maisaa Al Sulaiman, specialist family medicine, Burjeel Specialty Hospital, hailed the initiatives as a “farsighted action plan”. “The stringent and sweeping Covid-19 mitigating measures are announced foreseeing a spike in the caseload following the forthcoming holidays. The new safety measures to be imposed from July 19 will play an effective role in controlling the possible spike in cases. Abu Dhabi has taken a farsighted action plan,” said Dr Al Sulaiman.
He called on residents to celebrate Eid Al Adha responsibly. “Safety and precautionary measures should be followed without fail. Also, pregnant women, children, and those belonging to the high-risk group shall stay away from gatherings.”
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