Covid-19 in UAE: Daily cases hit 18-month low
Doctors share how the UAE deployed emergency response on a war footing.
Frontline workers in the country heaved a sigh of relief after His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, declared that the UAE has overcome the Covid-19 pandemic. The UAE on Wednesday registered 156 new Covid-19 cases – an 18-month low since 150 cases were reported on April 1, 2020.
“I am happy and feeling secure after hearing those words from His Highness,” said Dr V.R. Anil Kumar, medical director, Phoenix Hospital, Mussafah in Abu Dhabi. “We were all going through an unprecedented situation. Due to the wise UAE leadership, we are safe. This has not happened overnight. There were a lot of challenges that healthcare had gone through. Many thanks to our frontline heroes and the authorities in leading the battle.”
Doctors recollected how the UAE deployed emergency response on a war footing since the spread of the coronavirus in March last year. There were a large number of PCR testing centres, quarantine facilities, test-trace-treat policy, safety guidelines, awareness drives, emergency hotline numbers, distribution of free food kits, volunteers stepping out in large numbers, coupled with determined frontline warriors and a robust healthcare infrastructure. The UAE was prepared to lock horns with the deadly virus.
Dr Nabil Debouni, group medical director, VPS Healthcare, underlined that the country overcame the pandemic through concerted and systemic efforts.
“The authorities followed the best practices and ensured that containment processes were strong at the grassroots level,” he pointed out. “There was a collective effort since the first case was reported in the UAE. The Ministry of Health and Prevention and the NCEMA took charge of the war against Covid-19. All the health regulatory bodies had been creating awareness among the public and passed instructions to healthcare institutions.”
The strategy of contact tracing and isolation was complemented by the launch of Phase 3 of clinical trials, and soon vaccines by Sinopharm, Pfizer and others were made available. According to the Our World in Data website, the UAE has always been among the leading countries in terms of the vaccine distribution rate and the percentage of people vaccinated.
Dr Somansu Basu, specialist pathology and chairman of infection control, NMC Specialty Hospital, Al Ain, pointed out that research and use of advanced technology played a key role in the success story. “The UAE’s healthcare system was geared up for managing patients coupled with closely audited health practice protocols. Adoption of the latest technology by using Al Hosn app also kept the momentum,” he said.
Doctors said the pre-pandemic period would return soon. However, Dr Sunil Vyas, pulmonology specialist, Aster Hospital, Qusais, Dubai, said that people must continue to act responsibly.
“It is important that we follow the Covid -19 guidelines that the NCEMA and the health authorities keep updating. The public is now aware of the symptoms and features of Covid, so appropriate behaviour should be practiced - wearing of masks, proper hand washing and maintaining social distancing wherever required,” he added.
Dr Kumar said that people must never forget the sacrifices of the frontline warriors. “This is a new beginning but we must be cautious in our day-to-day activities to ensure that the pandemic will never have a second coming,” he noted. “Take the regular PCR tests as mandated by the government and the unvaccinated must get the shots immediately.”
Added Dr Vyas: “Due to vaccination, there is a low probability of a new wave arising; at the very least, the severity of the infection should be lower as well.”
Dr Debouni underlined that booster shots will increase immunity and reduce chances of contracting the virus. “The country has adopted a holistic strategy and never let the guard down,” he noted.
Dr Basu added: “The UAE has emerged as a country with a comprehensive and efficient pandemic control strategy in the entire Middle East and the world.”
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