Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 6 June 2020

Coronavirus: 45 new Covid-19 cases in UAE

One of the new cases includes a recent traveller who did not adhere to self-isolation and went on to infect 17 others

A traveller who arrived to the UAE and did not self-isolate went on to infect 17 others with Covid-19, including his family and colleagues.

The infected were among 45 new cases of coronavirus announced in the UAE on Monday, bringing the country's total up to 198.

Health authorities also announced three new recoveries, including two people from Nepal and one from Iran, bringing the country’s total tally to 41.

The 45 new cases come from 18 countries including seven Emiratis, seven Indians, three Bangladeshis, two Canadians, four Americans, four Pakistanis and one each from the following countries: Philippines, Iraq, Tunisia, Syria, Kuwait, Italy, Peru, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Somalia, UK, Sudan, Egypt, Ireland, Russia, Montenegro, France and Poland.

The cases were announced by Dr Farida Al Hosani, head of communicable diseases at the Department of Health Abu Dhabi and spokeswoman for the UAE health sector, during a live-streamed briefing on Monday.

She said all Covid-19 patients were being monitored and treated in hospitals across the country.

Dr Al Hosani called on the public to adhere to the strict measures imposed by the government including self-isolating, social distancing and to only leave the house in case of emergency.

“Our people and our country are a treasure for us all and our leadership has asked us to prevent that treasure by adhering to the precautions put in place,” she said.

“It is not time to praise each other but protect each other instead.”

Asked if the country would consider imposing a curfew, Dr Al Hosani said that, so far, Emiratis and residents were being asked to adhere to precautions introduced by the government to protect themselves and others from Covid-19.

It is not time to praise each other but protect each other instead

Dr Farida Al Hosani, Department of Health Abu Dhabi

The measures include staying home unless in case of necessity, such as to buy essential supplies like food and medicine or to go to work.

On Monday, the Ministry of Interior said fines and jail terms awaited anyone who did not comply with the safety measures implemented by authorities, under the UAE's law on communicable diseases.

The ministry called on the public to only use personal vehicles, should they need to leave their homes, and limit passengers to three per car.

Emiratis and residents must avoid public places and maintain social distancing protocols during family gatherings.

People should avoid hospitals except for critical and emergency cases and use face masks for public health safety.

Dr Al Hosani said the precautionary measures, which include the closures of schools and suspension of flights, are constantly under review and subject to extension at the discretion of authorities.

Should authorities impose a ban on working in offices for government bodies and private sector companies, the economic stimulus packages announced by the UAE leadership should help with financial losses, she said.

Dr Farida Al Hosani, head of communicable diseases at the Department of Health Abu Dhabi. Courtesy: Dubai One
Dr Farida Al Hosani, head of communicable diseases at the Department of Health Abu Dhabi. Courtesy: Dubai One

“Covid-19 is affecting the whole world and we are in the same boat but our leadership is following up on the latest developments and has allocated resources to support the country's sectors,” she said, referring to the economic stimulus packages announced by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, which total Dh126bn.

Dr Al Hosani said health authorities were still investigating anyone who may have come into contact with coronavirus patients and keeping tabs on any suspected cases.

“With detected cases, we investigate the people who were in contact with the patients and where they may have gone. This includes colleagues, family and friends who we test for the virus and ask to self-quarantine.”

She said all those who came into contact with the patient must undergo self-isolation for the full 14-day incubation period, even if their test comes out negative.

Asked how long patients take to recover from the virus, she said mild to moderate cases took up to two weeks while more sever cases could take 3 weeks or longer.

She said restaurants, beauty salons and barber shops were being monitored and subject to frequent inspections to ensure health and safety standards were being upheld.

Medical staff are also subject to frequent testing to ensure they are clear of the virus, she said.

And hospital staff have undergone training to ensure they are being protected from contracting to Covid-19.

She said the challenge was to overcome the peak of the virus and reach a phase of fewer infections.

“This is related to implementation of social distancing and the measures introduced by the authorities.

“We urge everyone to be cooperate with these measures. We can overcome this risk through the collaboration of individuals and businesses,” she said.

On Monday, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid praised health authorities and medical staff for protecting the public against coronavirus.

In a phone call to Rashid Hospital, he told Dr Sara Kazim, head of the emergency department, he was proud of the medical teams' response to the pandemic, saying they were at the frontline of defence against the deadly virus.

"We are proud of you and proud of all our doctors, nurses, paramedics and healthcare professionals," he said.

"You are on the frontline of our nation’s defence against the epidemic, and you are fulfilling a great and noble mission, but it isn’t done yet."

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed ordered the suspension of rental evictions for residents of the country's capital, on Monday, to help alleviate the financial difficulties facing the public caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

He directed Abu Dhabi Judicial Department to cease rental eviction procedures, along with executive procedures including imprisonment, blocking of bank accounts, seizure of vehicles, stocks and assets for a period of two months.

The decision exempts cases related to alimony and labour disputes.

This decision aims to ease the burdens of Emiratis and residents that have been caused by the coronavirus outbreak, which has heavily affected financial markets.

Updated: March 24, 2020 04:20 PM

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