Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 4 July 2020

CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus: Abu Dhabi to run expanded testing campaign targeting high-density areas

Medics will go to highly populated areas across the emirate in a renewed push to stop asymptomatic cases from spreading the virus

Medical teams will visit high density areas and tower blocks across the emirate of Abu Dhabi in an expanded testing campaign to identify coronavirus cases.

In a renewed push to get ahead of the spread of Covid-19, the authorities will target areas with large populations for free testing.

In particular, they want to identify asymptomatic carriers who may be spreading the virus to others unknowingly.

Abu Dhabi's public hospital operator Seha, which set up huge field hospitals in the capital and in Dubai, will run the campaign and deploy teams immediately, targeting "multiple housing complexes with high-density populations".

Ongoing tests are an essential element to flatten the curve and curb the spread of the virus

Abdullah Al Hamed, Department of Health - Abu Dhabi

Rashed Al Qubaisi, deputy chief executive of Seha, said teams would ensure "the largest possible number of citizens and residents are tested".

“Seha has put in place all the operational measures needed to ensure access to healthcare services for all residents and citizens across society."

Officials said widespread free testing remains crucial, even as the country eases restrictions and allows the workforce to return to offices.

Starting last month, Abu Dhabi's government carried out mass testing in industrial areas, including Mussaffah, which is home to more than 330,000 people. Among them are many blue collar workers and construction labourers.

It also carried out hundreds of thousands of tests at drive-through centres across the country.

The strategy was seen as key to curbing the spread of new cases and allowing shops and businesses to open.

"Starting from Saturday 30 May, the process of evaluating housing complexes will begin, and free medical screening tests for Covid-19 will be provided," Department of Health - Abu Dhabi said.

It said the campaign "aims to screen the largest possible number of the emirate’s residents, and cover heavily populated housing areas across the emirate".

Abdullah Al Hamed, chairman of DoH - Abu Dhabi, added: "The emirate has set a solid example in fighting this pandemic, ongoing tests are an essential element to flatten the curve and curb the spread of the virus."

At a televised briefing on Saturday, health officials reiterated the need for people to take individual responsibility, and to be aware of how vulnerable people with underlying conditions may be.

"Statistics in the country indicate that people with chronic diseases such as diabetes, blood pressure, heart disease and respiratory diseases represent the largest proportion of critical cases," said Dr Farida Al Hosani, the government's health spokeswoman.

"It is our responsibility as members of the community to take care of people with chronic diseases, to provide them with all support, to ensure that they comply with preventive measures, and to provide them with their daily needs to avoid leaving the home.

“We are at a critical stage in fighting covid-19. We are living in one community and the safety of each individual depends on the safety of the other. All of us must be responsible in order to overcome this challenge.”

To date, the UAE has tested more than two million people for Covid-19 - more per head of population than any other sizeable nation worldwide.

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