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What's causing the rise in Covid-19 cases in the UAE

Ashwani Kumar /Abu Dhabi
ashwani@khaleejtimes.com Filed on September 13, 2020 | Last updated on September 13, 2020 at 06.11 am
Gatherings, breeding grounds, Covid-19, warns, expert, UAE

(Alamy Image)

A top official had on Thursday explained that 88 per cent of the five-fold increase in daily Covid-19 cases were caused by gatherings.

Children are back in schools, malls and shops have reopened, tourists are flying in, and everyone is enjoying the sun, sand and sea. Unfortunately, residents have let their guards down and are now hosting get-togethers and parties. As a result, cases have gone up.

A top official had on Thursday explained that 88 per cent of the five-fold increase in daily Covid-19 cases were caused by gatherings.

The UAE has defined a steep fine to deter gatherings, with Dh10,000 for anyone hosting gatherings and Dh5,000 for attendees. Wedding parties are allowed with four guests per table and a maximum of 10 from a single group. But recent reports suggest that rules related to social distancing and mask use are being flouted.

Apart from celebratory occasions like birthdays and weddings, people need to adhere to safety measures during funerals, too. Overflow of emotions and enthusiasm resulting in a hug or a handshake can lead to an infection spread.

Medical experts said mass gatherings in close spaces are a matter of grave concern as one may be able to spread the virus just by breathing.

"A birthday celebration, weddings, festivals and even house parties with friends and family ... involve people at close quarters - less than six feet with masks off. They will be engaged in talking, laughing, hugging and sharing food and refreshments in a closed environment. Studies have shown that even talking and breathing can spread the virus," said Dr Seema Oommen, specialist microbiologist and head of Molecular Lab at Burjeel Medical City, Abu Dhabi.

Dr Seema said people need to comply with preventive measures like wearing masks and social distancing. "Mask is the single most important barrier when physical distancing is difficult. The more the people at a gathering and the longer that interaction lasts, the higher the potential risk of becoming infected with Covid-19."

She stressed that the community must renew its commitment to precautionary measures and not let the efforts of the government and frontline workers go to waste. "The government has achieved a lot in the last few months to control the virus. As a responsible resident, we should work with the government by simply avoiding, hosting or attending gatherings - however small - in confined areas and never ever let go of the mask at any cost ... Mask on, Covid-19 off," Dr Seema said.

ashwani@khaleejtimes.com 

 

author

Ashwani Kumar

I am a newspaperman from the emirate of Abu Dhabi. A journalist at heart. I get my stories from the streets. A south Indian born in the Hindi heartland, I easily connect with people from different nationalities and cultures. I am calm like a monk, sensitive and very patient reporter. On the ground, I cover a range of topics related to community, health, embassy, tourism, transport, business and sports. I will go out on a leg to do what’s right and stand by what I believe in.


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