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UAE conducts over 25,000 additional COVID-19 tests, 484 new cases identified as recoveries rise to 1,360

The UAE Government has announced the full recovery of 74 coronavirus patients after receiving the necessary healthcare, bringing the total number of recoveries to 1,360.

Speaking at the UAE’s regular media briefing on Monday, Dr. Farida Al Hosani, spokesperson for the UAE health sector, said that 25,795 additional tests were conducted across various emirates, which led to the identification of 484 new cases among various nationalities, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 7,265.

Dr. Al Hosani also announced the death of two Asian nationals, bringing the number of deaths to 43. She offered her sincere condolences to the families of the deceased and wished them peace during this challenging time.

During the briefing, Dr. Al Hosani spoke about the progress of the precautionary measures taken by the country to prevent the spread of the virus. Mohammed Al Fahim, Spokesperson of the Emirates Red Crescent, and Sheikh Omar Al Darei, Member of the Emirates Council for Fatwas, also spoke.

Dr. Al Hosani stressed the importance of children and adults receiving the necessary vaccinations. “We are already going through exceptional circumstances during this period, and vaccinations are important measures. We must not forget this, no matter the circumstances. Vaccination schedules for children must be adhered to in order to safeguard their health and safety,” she said.

Dr. Al Hosani affirmed that the UAE is committed to providing the necessary vaccinations for all members of society, including children and adults, to prevent various infectious diseases.

When asked about the possibility of contracting coronavirus when shopping, Dr. Al Hosani stated, “Studies indicate that the novel coronavirus may remain on surfaces for a few hours or even several days. This may vary depending on conditions, such as surface type, temperature, and humidity. Therefore, we advise all individuals after shopping or when receiving bags from delivery services to dispose of used bags after emptying their contents in a closed container. We also advise them to not re-use these bags and note the importance of sterilising the surfaces where bags are placed at home, as well as washing hands with soap and water.”

“All health facilities in the country have been warned that no patient with the disease will be discharged unless it is certain that they have fully recovered and have no symptoms. The approved health procedure after the patient has left the hospital is to remain at home for 14 days after treatment. They must also work remotely and not go out and mix with others,” she said.

Dr. Al Hosani also noted that it is necessary for any person recovering from the disease to communicate with health authorities if they are still suffering from any respiratory symptoms or fever, and they must visit the nearest medical centre to undergo the necessary checks.

Dr. Al Hosani said that reports circulated in international media about re-infection concern cases that have not fully recovered, adding that this is linked to the accuracy of hospital examinations or a failure to re-examine patients. She highlighted the necessity of ensuring that all patients have fully recovered and that testing is repeated a minimum of two times, affirming that the UAE’s health sector follows strict examination procedures and an approved protocol to ensure that patients are fully recovered before leaving the hospital.

The Emirates Red Crescent then announced during the briefing that it would provide care to people of all nationalities who have been identified as coronavirus patients by official health authorities in the UAE, as well as to their family members, in coordination with the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority and the Ministry of Health and Prevention.

ERC Spokesman Mohammed Al Fahim said that the initiative, launched under the directive of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in Al Dhafra Region and Chairman of the ERC, will entail identifying the needs of patients’ families, as well as the families of those who died due to the virus, in terms of livelihood, health, and education and proceed to fulfill them. He thanked Ataya Organisation for supporting the initiative.

Al Fahim urged individuals and organisations to support the initiative through ERC’s online platforms or by calling the toll free number 800733.

He also noted that ERC has begun reviewing requests by individuals in the UAE who have not yet returned home and those who are on visit visas to meet their needs in collaboration with the competent authorities. He added that ERC has received a number of requests from foreign embassies in the UAE and has provided the necessary care to their respective citizens.

Al Fahim also provided an overview of initiatives undertaken by ERC since the beginning of the crisis in line with its role and responsibilities as mandated by NCEMA and as part of its humanitarian role.

“ERC allocated AED5 million to support remote learning in collaboration with the Ministry of Education to provide the necessary educational materials, including laptops and tablets, to students,” he stated.

Other activities highlighted by Al Fahim included an initiative to ease the burden on tenants by either exempting them from paying rent, reducing their rent, or deferring rent payments.

He praised the response of several landlords to the initiative, adding that ERC is currently working on a new initiative to reduce school fees for families affected by the crisis.

He also noted that ERC is working to deliver food parcels to more than one million beneficiaries at their homes.

For his part, Sheikh Omar Al Darei highlighted the recently announced jurisprudential rulings pertaining to the holy month of Ramadan in light of the current situation.

He commended the precautionary measures taken by the UAE, saying they reflect the country’s commitment to prioritizing people’s lives and protecting them from the pandemic. He urged compliance with the decision to extend the closure of mosques and other places of worship until further notice.

“Fasting is obligatory upon healthy people who are required to fast. It has also been ruled that COVID-19 patients may not fast when virus symptoms appear and if they were told by physicians that fasting would make their condition worse. Frontline medical workers are also permitted to not fast while on duty if they fear that fasting could weaken their immunity. Elderly people with pre-existing chronic diseases and breathing difficulties are permitted to not fast.”

He added that those who could not fast can compensate later by fasting the days that they missed.

Sheikh Omer Al Darei said that Taraweeh prayer cannot be performed by following radio, TV, or social media, but in light of the current situation, it could be performed individually at home. The man of the house may lead prayers for his family either by reciting verses he memorised or by reading them from the Qur’an.

He added that should the current situation continue until that time, the public may perform Eid Al Fitr prayer individually at their homes or in a group with their respective family members without a sermon.