(MENAFN- Khaleej Times)
Published: Tue 9 Aug 2022, 2:07 PM
Last updated: Tue 9 Aug 2022, 10:27 PM
A little over two-and-a-half years after it discovered its first Covid-19 infection, the UAE's caseload now stands at more than one million. About 10 per cent of the country's population have had the viral disease at some point in the last 30 months. If repeat infections are factored in, this rate would be even lower.
This is significantly lower than other countries around the world with similar population as that of the UAE.
The Ministry of Health and Prevention reported 919 new cases on Tuesday , with the total number of infections now at 1,000,556.
Medical experts say that the country would have reached the 1 million-mark much sooner had it not been for its robust response mechanism to the pandemic. The UAE did not charge a single dirham for treating its Covid-19 patients and is continuing to administer vaccines and booster shots for free. The UAE has been the world's most vaccinated country for a while now.
Dr Suhail Kazim, medical director, senior consultant surgeon, NMC Specialty Hospital, Dubai
“Covid had several waves. The first wave … did not carry a high mortality, and the numbers were not that high then. However, the UAE government took a sensible attitude and started strict measures to ensure the time to enforce a lockdown,” said Emirati doctor Suhail Kazim, medical director, senior consultant surgeon, NMC Specialty Hospital, Dubai.
“Special units were created, hotels were evacuated to accommodate these cases, and selective hospitals were marked for handling these cases. Masks, protective gear … everything was distributed to all the healthcare personnel, and a hotline was established so that people would receive information on the spot and get support 24/7.”
Daily cases dip below 1,000
There are reasons to cheer for the country's healthcare workers. Daily cases have remained below the 1,000-mark for the last five days and are dipping steadily. This is a significant drop, considering the fact that the country saw 1,000+ daily infections for nearly two months before August 5. At the beginning of the year, the country saw highs of over 3,000 daily infections.
At just over 0.2 per cent, the country's death rate also remains among the lowest globally.
The UAE has restored normalcy across all sectors, with safety precautions still in place. Masks and social distancing in public spaces continue to remain mandatory, even as entities operate at 100 per cent capacity.
As PCR testing for the virus decreases around the world, the UAE continues to administer it in the hundreds of thousands daily. Till date, the country has conducted over 179 million PCR tests, with the daily average hovering around 150,000.
“This strategy of testing to detect infected people and isolating them to prevent transmission has led to a reduced number of infections,” Dr Saheer Sainalabdeen, specialist pulmonologist at Medeor Hospital, Dubai, told Khaleej Times earlier.
Riding the Covid waves
As the first wave subsided, there was a slight lull —“a period where things appeared to be cooling down”, according to Dr Suhail Kazim.
“Then the worst part was the second wave. As far as I can recall, it started from January 2021 and lasted till March 2021. In my 37 years of practice as a physician and surgeon, … (I have not seen anything like what I saw) during that second wave.”
He said the government and private sectors cooperated; and residents strictly adhered to the protocols, all of which helped the country see off the second wave.
“The third wave appeared many months later, with the emergence of the Omicron variant. The numbers rose sharply … but the severity was not as bad or life-threatening as in the second wave,” the Emirati doctor added.
Things are looking up now, but the doctor advised caution.
“Once again, obedience and the community's compliance are so important, which was our trump card leading to a successful outcome. We are still not out of the woods with the Covid virus,” he said.
- Coronavirus: UAE reports 919 Covid-19 cases, 859 recoveries, no deaths
- Covid-19: Top UAE hospitals resume normal operations as threat of virus wanes
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