'Drop in UAE Covid infections reflect increased herd immunity'

Dubai - UAE has witnessed a drop in cases in the past 2 weeks.

By Saman Haziq

Published: Tue 9 Mar 2021, 7:38 PM

The UAE has been witnessing a drop in the number of coronavirus infections in the past two weeks.

Also read: 7 field hospitals in UAE to treat Covid cases

Calling it a positive sign and a step towards recovery, healthcare experts credited the decline to the country’s proactive approach and preventive measures such as mass testing, isolating and quarantining people who came in contact with a Covid-19 positive case or had symptoms early on. They also believed that the downward trend reflects the efficacy of the vaccine, as more people get the jab and herd immunity grows.

Also read: Not wearing masks tops UAE safety violations list

Dr Raza Siddiqui, executive director, RAK Hospital, said: “While the UAE witnessed a surge in the number of Covid-19 cases early this year, the aggressive and stringent measures taken by the government helped bring the count down. For a country with a population of 9 million, conducting over 250,000 preventive screenings each day is quite remarkable and a world record of sorts. The education and awareness about the Covid-19 preventive protocols were stepped up by the authorities in conjunction with private healthcare players, who also played an equally crucial role in curbing the spread. Moreover, the UAE’s mass vaccination drive has also helped in checking the march of the virus. Having administered more than 6 million doses, the country has actually emerged as the top nation in the daily distribution rate.”

Reminding people not to get complacent even as the number of cases drop, Dr Siddiqui said: “The important thing to remember is that the spike can happen again if we let our guards down. The onus is on the people to take precautions and stay safe. If you are not isolated, you are not insulated from the virus so keep on the mask, maintain social distancing and maintain the hygiene protocols. Virus is active and so many variants are emerging; therefore, people have to be vigilant. Even if you are vaccinated, you must continue to take the same precautions.”

Dr Ravi Arora, internal medicine specialist at NMC Specialty Hospital Abu Dhabi, said the decline in infections could be due to a host of reasons. “This is a positive sign for the country as it hints that the vaccine efficacy is showing through as more people get vaccinated and herd immunity increases. Also, the community seems to be rising up to the challenge of social distancing responsibility and following the guidance, hence, helping in breaking the viral infectivity of the virus and making it less virulent.”

Bidhan Chowdhury, founder and group CEO of Medi Q Healthcare Group, pointed out: “Clearly, the strict measures taken by the UAE government and the various health authorities have helped the cause - conducting excessive testing, identifying positive cases, segregation and isolating those positive patients from others immediately brought the numbers down. In addition, the government spared no effort in ensuring availability of personal protective equipment, relevant medications while extensive screening efforts included performing door-to-door screenings in many instances.

He added that the rapid rollout of the vaccines and leading the world in this drive is also testimony of the UAE's success in containing the spread of the virus. “The decision of setting up new field hospitals in various emirates will play an important role in providing community care in the most effective way. The cooperation of the private healthcare players cannot be ignored too as they restricted the elective surgeries and procedures to accommodate the Covid-19 cases,” Chowdhury said.

“While I also think as more and more people get vaccinated, it will eventually help bring the numbers down though it goes without saying that we as a community we must learn to live in this new normal, without getting complacent about the situation. It is indeed clear that the virus and its mutated variants will be with us for a while and adhering to the rules, following government guidelines and remaining extra vigilant will be the way of life,” he underlined.

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