Coronavirus in UAE: DHA releases guidelines for travellers


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Dubai - During the stay-at-home quarantine, residents should look out for fever or any flu-like symptoms.

By Staff Report

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Published: Tue 10 Mar 2020, 1:00 PM

Last updated: Thu 12 Mar 2020, 11:26 AM

In a bid to protect the country's residents from the Covid-19 coronavirus, the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention has asked all citizens and residents to avoid travelling as much as possible. The ministry also highlighted that if travel is necessary, preventive measures will be taken once the traveller returns to the UAE.
This is to ensure they remain infection-free and avoid spreading the virus in case they end up developing symptoms during the 14-day incubation period.
(Coronavirus outbreak: All the latest updates)
Dr Manal Taryam, CEO of Primary Healthcare at the DHA, said: "DHA and all relevant health authorities in the UAE are working together and have in place screenings at the airport as well as after-travel precautions that people with recent history of travel to places of concern must follow. All these measures are aimed to control and slow the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19)."
Dr Taryam said that during the stay-at-home quarantine, residents should look out for fever or any flu-like symptoms. "They should avoid contact with others and should not go to work or school for this 14-day period."
The health official called on the residents concerned to "be responsible, avoid taking any public transportation means, and avoid crowded public places". "The basic idea is to stay indoors and to keep a distance from other family members (about three feet or one metre). This is a matter of community health and it's a precaution that should be taken seriously."
(Coronavirus: Everything you need to know about the Covid-19 Wuhan virus outbreak)
Dubai airports have been carrying out strict measures such as non-intrusive thermal screening for all passengers that arrive at Dubai airports and passengers from countries with a high infection rate are screened twice.
School students and staff members
For school students and all school staff, self-isolation for 14 days after returning to the UAE is mandatory irrespective of which country they have travelled to. While schools are shut until April 5, all students and staff who have traveled during the period of closure will need to practise self-isolation for 14 days.
Isolation vs Quarantine: What's the difference?
Dhanusha Gokulan
If you have travelled abroad or are in contact with someone with the Covid-19 virus or are a carrier of the disease, chances are health authorities in the UAE will ask you to self-isolate or be put into quarantine.
However, what is the difference between both? Experts in government and private medical facilities share some helpful details with Khaleej Times.
The restriction of movement of those who may have been exposed to a communicable disease, but not have a confirmed medical diagnosis to ensure they are not infected.
Who needs to be quarantined?
>A quarantine happens when a person is suspected of having the Covid-19 coronavirus.
>How long does an individual need to be quarantined?
>The first 14 days after possible exposure.
Who needs to be quarantined?
If an individual presents themselves to a medical facility saying they have travelled to a country that is endemic to this situation, and is suspected to have it, then he or she will have to stay away from the general public.
Can individuals self-quarantine?
No, presently, UAE hospitals are fully equipped to quarantine suspected patients. Healthcare providers are responsible for choosing the best place for quarantine - a hospital, at home, or in a private facility.
What happens to a patient in quarantine?
Patient has access to everything; however, it is not safe for them to walk around and mingle freely with the other members of the public. The positive aspect of such an experience is having enough time to meditate, read, watch movies, and practise hobbies
Can a family member or friend stay with you during quarantine?
Yes, friends or family members can stay with the patient as long as they take precautionary measures.
They can help in  carrying out daily tasks. However, limit the number to a few people so that the exposure is limited. Also, it is recommended that healthy young individuals interact with the patient as the older population with pre-existing conditions are more susceptible to the disease.
The separation of ill persons who have a communicable disease from those who are healthy, so they can start the treatment journey without infecting others. Isolation can be categorised into two types - medical isolation and self-isolation.
When does isolation happen?
Isolation happens only when the patient has been diagnosed with the infection. The patient will then undergo treatment in a medical facility. It takes place in a typical hospital set-up where the treatment starts.
Can you meet with or see patients in isolation?
No, no one can access or come near the patient except medical staff equipped with the right protective equipment. This is applicable to friends and family as well. Physically, no one can have contact with the patient.
What are treatment procedures like?
There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for Covid-19. Since the majority of the people infected with the disease have milder symptoms, they receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. Most individuals show cold and flu symptoms.
What is self-isolation?
Self-isolation is a type of quarantine. The patient is asked to be at home if they are not confirmed or diagnosed carriers of the disease.
Patients will show some symptoms, such as fever, cough, breathing difficulty, however, they are not confirmed cases. In some cases, they are exposed to an infected person or have travelled to a country where the disease is rampant.
Self- isolation could last anything between 48 hours to 14 days, depending on the protocol.
Where can it be done?
An especially re-purposed room in the home would do, although isolated people will not be in regular touch with their family members or visitors. The room must well-ventilated with an attached bathroom. 

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