There has been a recent surge in the cases of coronavirus in the UAE. Since the advent of this pandemic in the country, the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) alongside the government, has implemented commendable precautionary measures for coronavirus prevention in the UAE.
STEPS TAKEN BY THE GOVERNMENT FOR CORONAVIRUS PREVENTION IN THE UAE
Let’s take a look at these government initiatives to limit the spread of Covid-19 in Dubai and the rest of the UAE.
The most basic of coronavirus preventive measures in the UAE undertaken by the government was to spread awareness. These efforts include distributing a complete coronavirus medical guide to:
- Public and private health facilities
- Educational institutions
- Border crossing and tourism departments.
The government has also created isolation rooms in hospitals across the country and installed thermal detectors on all ports of entry (land, air and sea).
AIRPORT SCREENINGS FOR CORONAVIRUS PREVENTION
Coronavirus is a transmittable disease with a 14-day incubation period as per the health authorities. To limit the number of infected individuals from entering the country, the government has placed strict checks and screening procedures across all major airports in the UAE.
The checks are for everyone coming into the country – including residents and tourists. The main focus of the government is on people with a travel history and flights coming in from the high-risk countries. Basic tests at the airport to prevent coronavirus in the UAE include:
- Thermal scanners to detect increased body temperatures (fever)
- Anyone with a fever may have to undergo the nasal swab test for further diagnosis
The nasal swab is put into a solution to obtain results and travellers may be held back till the results are back. Any passengers who test coronavirus positive are transferred to a quarantined medical facility for further monitoring.
In addition to this overall screening policy, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), as part of their policy for coronavirus prevention in Dubai, has introduced measures to keep track of people who have travelled to high-risk countries over the course of the past month. All such travellers and their families are closely monitored for any signs and symptoms of Covid-19.
INCREASED ALERTNESS ON BORDER CROSSINGS
The border crossings in the country are on increased alert, especially when dealing with people from high-risk countries like China, Iran, Italy and South Korea.
Control procedures and rapid laboratory testing protocols are introduced on all major border crossings for coronavirus prevention in UAE.
So far, the authorities have conducted over 30,000 coronavirus tests on various border crossings in the country.
As a preventive measure, the government has also introduced coronavirus travel restrictions in the UAE. As per the latest updates, the UAE government has implemented temporary travel bans on all flights. As per the latest communication, all inbound, outbound and transit flights will be temporarily halted from March 25, 2020.
HOSPITALS AT ALERT
No government initiatives for coronavirus prevention in the UAE would be complete without strict medical protocols being followed at hospitals across the country. To equip hospitals with the latest tools, MoHAP has developed a dedicated system called Wareed.
Wareed is an electronic system that identifies and issues early warning for patients most prone to be infected by Covid-19. The algorithm-based system has helped identify patients at an early stage who can then be isolated for treatment. Wareed is functional throughout healthcare facilities in the UAE to limit the risk of a widespread outbreak of the disease.
For coronavirus prevention in Dubai, the DHA has instructed its licensed healthcare facilities to treat all coronavirus cases, whether suspected or confirmed, as emergencies. In addition, coronavirus cases in the UAE are to be treated for free. Insurance companies have also been directed to honour any coronavirus treatment claims they receive during this crucial time.
SEPARATE CORONAVIRUS MEDICAL FACILITY
The UAE authorities are also constructing a separate quarantine medical facility for people with Covid-19 infection. This coronavirus medical facility would be equipped with all the medical expertise and equipment required for treatment, should it become an epidemic.
EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES SHUT DOWN
Schools in the UAE are shut down for a month from March 8. The decision to temporarily close down schools and universities in the UAE came shortly after the closure of nurseries in the country. Children are more prone to the Covid-19 infection, so the school closure was just another step taken by the government to prevent coronavirus in the UAE from spreading.
The government has also initiated a widespread sterilisation programme that involves deep cleaning and disinfecting educational facilities and mosques. The programme aims to cover around 600 schools and universities and more than 3,000 buses.
The sterilisation of mosques in the UAE will be supervised by the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments. The programme includes replacing books, carpets, shelves and other furniture across these places of worship. The authority has also asked Imams to restrict Friday prayers to not more than 10 minutes during the ongoing coronavirus threat.
RECREATIONAL FACILITIES SHUT DOWN
On March 14, 2020, the UAE government announced that select cinemas. theme parks and beaches would be closed to contain the spread of coronavirus in the UAE.
The notice issued by DED said, “In line with ongoing efforts to safeguard public health, the Department of Economic Development directs all cinemas, theme parks, amusement games and electronic game centres, bodybuilding and fitness gyms and spring camps licenced in Dubai to halt all their activities ad services for the public with immediate effect till the end of March 2020 starting from today Sunday 15th March 2020. These establishments will be subjected to inspections to verify their compliance with this circular.”
Following this announcement, DED also confirmed that historical sites and museums will be closed until the end of March 2020. Global Village has been also closed ahead of schedule on the 17th of March 2020 and will only reopen in 2021 for the 25th edition.
Spas and massage parlours have also been closed temporarily until the end of March 2020 to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the UAE. As per the latest communication, malls in the UAE are also closed. Restaurants cannot have dine-in customers. Home deliveries are still being allowed.
OTHER SAFEGUARDS FOR CORONAVIRUS PREVENTION IN THE UAE
Apart from the above-mentioned steps taken by the government to safeguard against the Covid-19 threat, there are a number of other precautions implemented privately or regionally.
- The government has advised people not to use traditional ways of greeting
- Government employees, especially pregnant women, the elderly and the people of determination have been allowed to work from home without any pay cuts
- People who are sick should not attend mosques and other congregational places of worship or entertainment
- Several churches in the UAE have suspended Mass gatherings as a preventive step for coronavirus
- There is a big number of events cancelled in the UAE as a preventive step for coronavirus risk
- Malls in Abu Dhabi have installed thermal scanners and doubled their efforts to sanitise trolleys, ladies rooms and washrooms
- The emirates of Dubai, Ajman and Abu Dhabi have also banned shisha to limit the spread of Covid-19
- Parks and public beaches in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Fujairah are closed for public
- Cinemas in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are temporarily shut down
- Most major tourist attractions in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi are also shut down
- General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments (GAIAE) has issued notice to close down mosques and all other places of worship in the UAE for the next four weeks
- The UAE has also made it mandatory for travellers to observe a 14-day self-quarantine. Any traveller who fails to do so upon entering the UAE may face legal action
- As a precautionary measure to prevent coronavirus in UAE, the Ministry of Interior has urged motorists to renew their vehicle registrations online for the next three months starting March 22, 2020
PRECAUTIONS TAKEN BY DUBAI AUTHORITIES
- The DHA in Dubai is providing round-the-clock medical consultations for coronavirus via video
- Dubai authorities have put together a special team to sterilise and disinfect the public spaces and streets in the emirate on a regular basis
- RTA Dubai has taken the necessary measures to disinfect Metro cabins after every journey
- From March 15, on the directions of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) all entertainment destinations have ceased operations and wedding events are temporarily banned
- All spas and massage centres in Dubai are closed till the end of March
- Nightclubs in Dubai are closed down
- Dubai has also discontinued gyms, amusement parks, spring camps and gaming centres
- Eateries in Dubai are instructed to discontinue buffets, limit the number of orders they take, use disposable cutlery and space tables at a 2-metre distance from each other
- DTCM issued directives to tour operators in Dubai for the suspension of all tour activities and services, including sea cruises, desert safaris and more with immediate effect
As days progress, there may be further preventive measures implemented by the UAE government for safeguarding against coronavirus. We will be updating the post regularly, so stay tuned to MyBayut.