#DontDropGuard: Protect yourself and others by avoiding gatherings amid coronavirus

Dubai - Health officials have urged people to adhere to precautionary measures and not be part of gatherings.

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By Saman Haziq

Published: Sat 16 May 2020, 2:43 AM

Last updated: Mon 18 May 2020, 3:41 PM

There is a strong reason why the UAE took a number of drastic measures, including the closure of schools, offices and places of worship, banning public events and private get-togethers - prevent large gatherings. This would be much helpful in reducing the chances of spreading Covid-19.

Health authority officials have urged people to adhere to precautionary measures and not be part of gatherings after a number of cases were recorded from a few families who held gatherings on the pretext of Iftar and Taraweeh prayers. In a recent incident, 30 people from two families broke the rules by gathering and ended up spreading the disease among themselves.

During a recent Press briefing, Dr Hend Al Awadhi, public health specialist at the Dubai Health Authority, appealed to residents to stick to the rules during Ramadan and ahead of Eid celebrations. "We are still far from being back to normal. It is a big concern people are gathering to socialise in larger numbers during the holy month.The restrictions may have eased but that does not mean coronavirus is no longer there and the pandemic is over. There will be people who do not know they have the virus and are passing it on to others."

Dr Zakir K Mohamed, consultant surgeon, Mediclinic Parkview Hospital, who has been handling Covid-19 patients, said: "As a frontline doctor treating these patients, learning that a careless family meeting or congregational prayer against official advice, has brought someone to hospital and occasionally to the brink of death, is most disheartening and not befitting Ramadan's spirit."

He added: "Covid-19 infection is asymptomatic in majority of the population; the small percentage who become symptomatic can become severely ill and the elderly are more vulnerable. This year, let us sacrifice the tranquillity of group prayers in mosques and the joy of Iftar family get-togethers, and be generous to the elders in our family by not visiting them. Let us spend our time worshipping the one creator and praying for the unfortunate few who are fighting for their lives in the hospital ICUs."

There are multiple instances in the UAE when people adhered to the government regulations and conducted funerals and weddings without relatives attending it.
Talking about how telemedicine has helped greatly helped decongest hospitals of crowds, Fodhil Benturquia, founder and CEO, Okadoc which is the region's largest telemedicine platform said: "During a time when safety of patients is compromised, expanding the reach of UAE physicians through telemedicine can give patients easier access to specialist and general healthcare remotely. With the growing need for patients to access specialist and general healthcare throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual consultations for patients with their doctors from the safety of their homes has become the need of the hour."

Elaborating on instant doctor appointment booking platform Okadoc, he said: "Our aim was to launch a solution designed to address medical/healthcare challenges in these unprecedented times and connect patients with doctors quickly on a 24/7 basis. Okadoc is the only regional doctor booking platform that is directly integrated with the providers' health information system (HIS), so patients can have a video call and chat electronically with their doctor any time of the day. The system also allows the patient to choose a doctor based on language, approved insurance provider, gender and time available."


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