Covid-19 in UAE: Take vaccines, booster before going mask-free, say doctors

UAE doctors urge residents to continue practising basic sanitation protocols



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Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Sat 26 Feb 2022, 11:18 PM

Last updated: Sun 27 Feb 2022, 7:09 AM

While UAE doctors have hailed authorities’ decision to make face masks optional for residents and visitors, they called on residents to exercise caution at all times.

The mandatory wearing of masks in public places were dropped in the UAE starting Saturday. Instead, mask-wearing in outdoor areas has been made optional, said the National Authority for Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management (NCEMA).

Some UAE doctors Khaleej Times reached out to, urged residents to continue practising basic sanitation protocols.

Dr Rasha Alani, a specialist in family medicine at Medcare Medical Centre, Khawaneej, said: “We’re on the journey towards recovery from the pandemic. The new rules announced yesterday are a positive step towards this direction. New regulations in healthcare and travel announced by NCEMA prove robust recovery.”

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She added, “That being said, basic hand-hygiene and sanitisation rules must be followed to protect vulnerable members of our community. The practice of hand-washing and using a sanitiser must continue.”

Moreover, if an individual is feeling unwell, they must maintain a distance of three metres from others, she said.

The doctor also stressed the importance of taking vaccines and booster doses as they provide protection against viral infection and their mutations. “Any respiratory symptoms such as flu or cough should be considered as a necessity to wear a face mask to prevent droplets spreading the disease among the population,” she added.

Dr Nasrullah Jakhrani, internal medicine at Aster Jubilee Medical Centre, Bur Dubai, said: “Residents must ensure that they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 infection. Although wearing masks are optional outdoors, it is important for everyone to keep wearing it in closed places and while using public transportation.”

“If you have symptoms like fever, cough, cold and body pain, it is preferred to stay home till a resolution of the symptoms. Moreover, while you are in public places, frequent hand-sanitisation must be practiced,” said Dr Jakhrani.

Dr Pawan Shrivastava, consultant internal medicine, NMC Speciality Hospital Dubai, said: “The transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is less likely in the fresh air of the outdoor environment. Government agencies are closely monitoring the positivity rate of SARS-CoV-2 on a daily basis. Whenever they see positivity rate is significantly low, they relax certain measures which have low to negligible chances of virus transmission.”

He added, “If you are still unvaccinated, or have any chronic disease which has reduced your immunity, it is better to wear the face mask.”

Dr Shrivastava said the announcement sends a very positive message to the public. “The UAE government should be thanked for the way they have controlled this disease and also the way massive vaccination is done in the country. We should continue to still take all precautions, especially in closed spaces, and if one has any symptoms,” he added.

dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com


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