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UAE fights coronavirus: No. 1 in mass testing with over 2 million tests

Saman Haziq/Dubai
Filed on May 29, 2020 | Last updated on May 29, 2020 at 06.25 am
covid test, uae

(KT file)

The country is testing an average of 213,636 people in a million.

The UAE now leads in mass testing per million people and has conducted more than two million tests, according to new data from Worldometer.

The country is testing an average of 213,636 people in a million, with the daily testing average equalling the four-month average in other countries.

The is way ahead of even developed countries, With an additional 38,000 tests done since Wednesday, the total number of tests stands at 2.11 million in the UAE.

The country quickly ramped up its testing infrastructure, and has managed to control the spread effectively.

Abdul Rahman Bin Mohammed Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention, said at a meeting earlier this month: "The UAE acted proactively and transparently in the early days of the outbreak. Notably, it was the first country in the Middle East to report a confirmed case, one of the first countries to begin coronavirus testing and early detection, and among the few countries that are still performing strict testing."

Early testing is an ideal response, said Dr Magdi Mohamed, consultant Emergency Medicine at Burjeel Hospital, Abu Dhabi, said: "The mass screening strategy is in line with the World Health Organisation's strategy - test, trace and treat patients. Testing is crucial as it has helped in identifying silent spreaders of the disease who are asymptomatic people who spread the disease. Testing, therefore enables us to identify those infected and treat them by either shifting them to a hospital or quarantining them."

Dr Magdi said the authorities were clear about their strategy. The policy was communicated to healthcare providers.

"This has been elemental in identifying cases and conducting massive testing at every healthcare facility. In the first step, we began screening people with symptoms. In the second step, people coming from outside were identified and screened for infection. With that, we stepped up the screening process and started to conduct massive testing - locality wise to check the spread of the virus. This strategy has so far found to be key in identifying cases and reducing the spread of infection."

Mass testing is the only way to stop the spread of the virus, said Dr Arun Goyal, medical director at RAK Hospital. It helps reduce the number of people coming in contact with Covid positive patients.

Identifying three crucial significant outcomes of testing, Dr Arun said: "The first, obviously, is tracking down the cases with symptoms; the second is identifying the household clusters and tracing people who patients may have come in contact with, and; the third is quarantining the Covid-affected individuals till they are no longer infectious. The aim is to find, test, isolate and treat every case to break the chain of transmission and this is only possible through mass screening. Physical distancing is another strategy to combat this pandemic."

He predicts that the UAE will become a centre for medical research and innovation because of the rapid coronavirus laser testing technology. "It's being developed in Abu Dhabi and is a laser-based DPI technique which can ensure fast and accurate results. It is based on G42 and Cloud AI technology. This will be a gamechanger in tackling the spread of the virus globally."

Dr. Sanjiv Kumar Kakkar, specialist paediatrician at Al Zahra Hospital, Sharjah, said mass testing will also indirectly help prevent morbidity and mortality.

"Apart from controlling the disease early. mass testing will indirectly lead to preventing morbidity and mortality in the long run, thus leading to faster return to normalcy."

saman@khaleejtimes.com


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