Coronavirus news bulletin: UAE approves 'emergency' use of Covid vaccine; man wakes up from 2-month coma; 4 arrested for parties

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Abu Dhabi - A round-up of major developments related to Covid-19 across the country.


Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Tue 15 Sep 2020, 8:24 AM

Last updated: Tue 15 Sep 2020, 10:29 AM

Here's a round-up of all the latest Covid-19 developments you need to know:

UAE Covid-19 vaccine is safe to use, cleared for health staff
The UAE's Ministry of Health and Prevention (Mohap) has announced an "emergency approval" for use of a Covid-19 vaccine that's being trialled here. The vaccine will be available to the frontline workers who are at the highest risk of contracting the virus, a minister announced. This will protect them from any dangers. "The vaccine emergency approval for use is fully aligned with regulations and laws which permit (an) accelerated authorisation process," said Abdul Rahman bin Mohammed Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention, during a virtual Press briefing on Monday. "The results of the first and second test phases (of the vaccine) showed that it is safe, effective and triggered the right response."
UAE reports 777 new Covid-19 cases, 530 recoveries, no deaths
The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention on Monday reported 777 cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, along with 530 recoveries. No deaths were recorded. More than 61,000 new Covid-19 tests were carried out, the ministry added. With the UAE recording a sharp spike in the number of daily Covid-19 cases, authorities have 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 daily cases crossed the 1,000 mark for the first time on Saturday, with the country reporting 1,007 infections. The next highest of 994 cases was recorded over 100 days ago on May 22.
'Miracle' Covid-19 survivor woke up from 2-month coma in UAE
Dr Mahesh Kumar Arora is a 63-year-old Indian anaesthesiologist who had been unconscious for two long months as he battled Covid-19. He's not just a survivor - for doctors, he is a 'medical miracle'. Dr Arora, who treated Covid patients, battled the virus himself for nearly five months. He had to be put on a ventilator and then an extracorporeal life support machine (Ecmo machine). He was the second patient in the UAE who had to be transferred on this Ecmo - and the first one did not make it, his doctor said. He has indeed defied death and his survival story has left many in disbelief. The anaesthesiologist at Lifecare Hospital Musaffah, and his wife 60-year-old Sudha Arora, a former teacher, both tested positive for Covid-19 in the last week of April.  
4 arrested as UAE authorities go after Covid-19 safety violators
A bridegroom was among four people arrested in the UAE after videos of parties showing their guests flouting Covid-19 safety rules went viral. All four of them face thousands of dirhams in fines. The Asian bridegroom was arrested in Ras Al Khaimah after videos showed him and his guests ignoring all safety measures like social distancing and mask use. In Dubai, a disc jockey, the manager of a tourism company and its marketing manager were held for organising a party for over 100 guests in a closed space. The bridegroom took to social media to post videos of his wedding reception at a banquet hall. "The videos show how the guests turned a blind eye to the preventive measures to stay safe from Covid-19," a source said.
Why you need to get a flu shot amid Covid-19 pandemic, Dubai experts explain
A spike in flu cases is usually recorded in Dubai from October, according to an in-depth study of the Dubai Health Authority (DHA). With October just a couple of weeks away, the authorities are calling on the community to get the flu shot - especially in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. Dr Abdishakur Abdulle, associate director of the Public Health Research Centre at New York University Abu Dhabi, said: "Both seasonal influenza and Covid-19 have similar clinical manifestations so, this flu season, it is imperative to take the flu vaccine." With the similarities in symptoms, it may be hard to tell the difference between influenza and Covid-19, another expert said during the discussion of the DHA's new study on Monday.
Covid violations in wedding videos gets groom arrested in UAE
A groom was recently arrested in Ras Al Khaimah for hosting a wedding celebration and ignoring all safety measures, police said on Monday. The Asian man has posted videos of his wedding on social media, showing how he and his guests violated the protocols as they gathered at a banquet hall in the emirate, the authorities said. "He was referred to the emergency, crises, and disasters sector at the Federal Public Prosecution for legal action." The Ras Al Khaimah Police reiterated the warning that strict legal action shall be taken against anyone who will be caught violating anti-Covid measures.  A few days ago, the emirate's Department of Economic Department ordered a wedding hall shut and slapped it with a hefty fine for failing to observe the precautions put in place to fight the spread of Covid-19.
4,244 rescue missions carried out in Sharjah
As many as 4,244 missions have been carried out by the rescue department of the Sharjah Police amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The missions included land and sea rescue operations, and those of humanitarian nature. Lt-Col Faisal Jassim Al Dokhi, director of the rescue department, said the department conducted 292 land and 21 maritime operations. It helped rush 3,007 people to hospitals, too. Seniors, as well as bedridden residents, were also transported under a special initiative. He added that the department had dealt with 850 other humanitarian cases. Lt-Col Dokhi said that in all these cases, the team swung into action and responded quickly, which helped save many lives and property.  
Pan-UAE crackdowns on Covid-19 safety violators spare none
With gatherings blamed for 88 per cent of the recent surge in daily Covid-19 cases, authorities have stepped up inspections across the country. Thousands of fines and warnings have been issued against commercial establishments and residents for failing to ensure safety. Several stores at malls and markets were ordered shut, while some establishments lost their operating permits. A bridegroom and three party organisers were arrested in Ras Al Khaimah and Dubai, respectively, as videos of their crowded parties went viral on social media. In Dubai, five retail outlets and a swimming pool were ordered shut on Sunday. In Abu Dhabi, a groom, his father and the father of the bride were recently referred to the prosecution for organising a celebration at home.  
Abu Dhabi graduate helps develop tool to monitor coronavirus mutations
A former resident of Abu Dhabi is part of an international research team that has developed a tool to keep track of the mutations of the Covid-19 virus. Elston Neil D'Souza, the youngest member of the team led by University of Melbourne associate professor David Ascher, helped create the tool called Covid-3D, which harnesses genomic and protein information about the virus. The changing structures of the virus make it challenging for experts to develop drugs and vaccines; so by monitoring these mutations, Covid-3D becomes an important instrument in the fight against the pandemic. During the research, the D'Souza and his team analysed more than 120,000 samples of the novel coronavirus from infected patients globally.

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