(WAM) — Abdul Rahman bin Mohammed Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention, announced that thanks to the unlimited support of the UAE’s leadership, the country has managed to cross the barrier of 5 million laboratory tests for COVID-19, and that the survival rate for those infected with the disease has risen to 90 per cent.
This is a clear indication of the effectiveness of the proactive strategy that was adopted by the UAE Government to confront the epidemic and limit its spread, said the minister.
The announcement was made during a media briefing held in Abu Dhabi today (Monday) during which Al Owais stressed that the UAE’s policy to increase the number of laboratory tests has greatly contributed to the early detection and treatment of cases.
He praised the role of the front line medical teams and first responders and their great efforts since the beginning of the pandemic Al Owais added that the early detection of cases and the application of advanced treatment protocols contributed to a continuous increase in the rates of recovery, with the ratio now reaching nearly 90%, giving the UAE among the highest rates of recovery in the world.
Al Owais stressed that social visits and communication without observing the rules of physical separation constitute the greatest challenge in the battle against COVID-19, and he asked that the public’s commitment to observing preventive measures would help to preserve the current successes and help to achieve greater achievements in the future.
With regard to the development of vaccines, H.E Al Owais explained that the UAE has achieved, in cooperation with a large group of international partners, a remarkable development as the third phase of the clinical trials that were launched during last July is continuing.
During the briefing, Dr Omar Al Hammadi, the official spokesperson for the UAE Government, said that the latest developments showed that the challenge to overcome COVID-19 is ongoing, as health workers continued their efforts during the Eid Al Adha period to ensure the safety of all members of society.
Dr Al Hammadi stressed that the health care system in the UAE aims to create an environment free from the complications and consequences of COVID-19, which requires complete harmony between the vision adopted by the government and each individual’s awareness of the importance of the measures being taken.
As for the new cases, Dr Al Hammadi announced that the number of new daily examinations reached 27,811, and revealed that 164 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded, all of which were receiving all necessary care in health care institutions. The latest figures bring the total number of recorded cases to 61,163.
Dr Al Hammadi also announced 248 new recoveries, bringing the total number of recoveries among COVID-19 patients in the country to 54,863.
He added that no deaths were recorded for the third day in a row, noting that the number of patients receiving treatment reached 5,949 patients.
Dr Al Hammadi explained that the immune system is the backbone of protection in the human body, as it forms the defensive cells that respond to viruses, noting that the immune system is exposed to weakness with age. This explains why the elderly suffer complications due to COVID-19.
Dr Al Hammadi stressed that a healthy lifestyle plays an important role in protecting the body and leads to the strengthening of the immune system, noting that it is necessary to protect it from negative external interventions that include smoking, sleep disorders, lack of exercise, weight gain and psychological factors, in addition to not eating a healthy diet of vegetables and fruits.
Dr Al Hammadi also warned against using products that claim to stimulate the immune system against the virus, as they often exploit people’s fear and anxiety.
He stressed the need to continue to wear masks because of their ability to limit the spread of the virus, which is transmitted mainly through direct contact with the infected, and through spray coming from coughs and sneezes.
Dr Al Hammadi explained that there are different types of masks, the effectiveness of which varies from one type to another. He indicated that the surgical type is most common, while a fabric mask can also be used. These serve their purpose in the absence of surgical masks, preferably consisting of more than one layer. People are urged to make sure masks that can be reused are regularly washed.
Dr Al Hammadi said the need remains for everyone to wear masks, especially those suffering from respiratory symptoms, those who mix with COVID-19 patients, as well as those who care for the elderly and those who suffer from chronic diseases.
He further emphasised the importance of sterilization and washing hands before wearing a mask, while ensuring that the mask is bound tightly, but not so as to cause the wearer difficulty in breathing.
Dr Al Hammadi explained that the best way to remove a mask is to remove the strings around the ears without touching any part of the face, including the nose, mouth and eyes. Then the hands should be washed or sterilized, explaining that it is not recommended to leave the mask hanging under the neck or above the forehead.
Dr Al Hammadi advised people not to wear a mask if they have difficulty breathing or cannot remove it on their own for any reason.
Wearing a mask does not exempt people from physical distancing, as these are the two most effective weapons against the virus.
Dr Al Hammadi revealed that children are not immune from the virus, especially those who suffer from chronic diseases, noting that although children are less likely to develop severe symptoms, they are able to carry the virus and transmit it, so adequate precautions must be taken to save children from infection.
He explained that it is recommended that children wear masks, provided that they are more than two years old, and that they should not be wearing masks if they have difficulty breathing or do not have the ability to remove them themselves.
Dr Al Hammadi answered several questions from the media during the briefing, where he explained that there is no scientific evidence to prove that the Coronavirus passes between people in seawater and swimming pools, especially if the swimming pools are sterile, because sterilization reduces the chance of the spread of viruses. He pointed out that the users of swimming pools must observe physical spacing for a distance of not less than two meters, while those with respiratory symptoms should refrain from using pools.
Dr Al Hammadi gave more important tips for swimming pool users, explaining that a mask should be worn as soon as they are out of the water.
As for close contact with relatives and friends if their COVID-19 result is negative, Dr Al Hammadi stressed the negative result means that the person was not infected at the time of the examination, and does not necessarily mean that they are still negative after a few days.
He noted that infection can occur at any time, even on the day of taking the sample, which means the need to follow precautionary measures and physical distance remains in all circumstances and and at all times.