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No risk of coronavirus to UAE residents so far, assures health ministry

Saman Haziq/Dubai
Filed on January 21, 2020 | Last updated on January 21, 2020 at 05.13 am
virus, outbreak, china, affect, not affect uae, novel coronavirus, health ministry, ministry of health


The ministry accordingly reassures the public that the outbreak does not pose any risk to the UAE's public health.

A new strain of coronavirus that has claimed three lives and infected hundreds of Chinese citizens does not pose any risk to UAE residents, the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) has said. The ministry stressed that no case of the novel coronavirus has been reported in the country so far. It is closely following up on the latest updates about the virus.

A top official said the ministry follows a "very effective epidemiological monitoring mechanism" to ensure sustainable efficiency and protect society against any health pandemics.

Dr Hussein Abdel Rahman Al Rand, assistant undersecretary of health centres and clinics sector, said the ministry has taken all precautionary measures and "is ready to deal with any travel-related coronavirus cases".

Al Rand said the ministry has made sure that all ports are on standby to handle cases. He stressed on the need to inform the health authorities if anyone detects symptoms of the disease.

"We have issued a circular to government and private health facilities to enhance the monitoring of respiratory conditions for people coming from areas where the disease is prevalent. We have asked the medical facilities in the country to report (cases) immediately (if detected). We are also looking to educate travellers to the area where the disease has appeared by advising them to follow preventive measures," he said.

He pointed out that the plan includes "standard procedures" when detecting cases of illness among passengers. These include procedures for receiving affected passengers and transferring them to the designated hospitals at the earliest. The ministry has held a meeting with the Civil Aviation Authority in this regard.

Most people with the infection are believed to have contracted it through exposure to animals at a market that sells seafood and meat in Wuhan. It is not certain that the virus spreads from person to person. But a few cases have not been linked to animals, and researchers say some human-to-human transmission may be possible.

The outbreak has revived memories of the Sars virus - also a coronavirus - that killed 774 people in the early 2000s. As per studies, the genetic code of the new virus shows it is more closely related to Sars than any other human coronavirus.

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