DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The United Arab Emirates (UAE) government has renewed its call to the public to take preventive health and personal hygiene measures as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country jumped to 27.
The government made the call after the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) on Tuesday night, March 3, announced 6 new cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
“The total number of coronavirus cases has reached 27,” MoHAP said.
It noted that at least 5 of the total cases were previously reported to have fully recovered.
MoHAP said the new cases were being monitored following World Health Organization (WHO) standards and that the individuals were in stable condition and receiving all the necessary health care.
In an advisory, the Emirates News Agency (WAM) said that the 6 individuals diagnosed with the new coronavirus include two Russians, two Italians, a German, and a Colombian. The patients were connected to the two previously announced cases associated with the cycling event, the UAE Tour, ENA said.
Reexamination of quarantined persons
The Abu Dhabi Sports Council had earlier canceled the remaining rounds of the 2020 UAE Tour after two Italian participants tested positive for COVID-19. The two Italian team members were part of the technical crew, who typically do not mix with participants in the event, according to Dr Abdul Rahman bin Mohammad bin Nasser Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention.
Al Owais had earlier said that based on the examination of 612 who were in contact with the Italian patients, 450 tested negative for the new coronavirus, while results for the remaining 162 people were expected soon.
Two luxury Abu Dhabi hotels – identified in reports as W Abu Dhabi and the Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi, both on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi – were in lockdown as part of efforts to isolate guests after the two Italians were suspected of contracting the coronavirus. Hotel guests had been screened.
In its March 3 statement, MoHAP noted that “all individuals within the two quarantined hotels that had no direct contact with athletes and their administrative teams were examined, and that those that tested negative for the coronavirus were allowed to leave the hotel premises.”
Individuals currently quarantined will be “reexamined and tested for the virus to ensure their utmost safety,” MoHAP said, adding that disinfection and sterilization procedures will be carried out for all buildings, utilities and vehicles.
On the same day, the UAE Ministry of Education (MoE) announced that all schools and universities in the country would be closed for 4 weeks.
MoE announced on Twitter that the shutdown will begin on Sunday, March 8.
“The facilities will be deep cleaned during this time,” it said.
“This decision was made in the best interest of the health and safety of the students and the wider education community at schools and universities,” MoE added.
It added that public schools will start distance learning initiatives while private ones were encouraged to share their distance learning plans with parents and students.
Meanwhile, MoHAP said it “continues to adhere to principles of transparency in its dealings with all cases related to the emergence of COVID-19 since its outbreak in China.”
It also noted that all concerned UAE authorities have joined forces to monitor the situation, and prevent the further spread of the coronavirus.
MoHAP assured the public that medical facilities have been equipped with all the necessary medical equipment and supplies to provide care and enforce measures required to deal with COVID-19, including airborne infection isolation rooms, following WHO standards.
It also advised the public to adhere to preventive health and personal hygiene measures to prevent the spread of the epidemic.
The ministry noted basic protective measures such as the frequent washing of hands, covering the mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue and discarding the tissue immediately when coughing and sneezing, and seeking early medical care if symptoms of fever, cough and difficulty in breathing arise.
Police have also earlier cautioned the public against sharing unconfirmed and unofficial information about novel coronavirus disease COVID-19 on social media, warning them that they can get “blacklisted” for spreading unverified information.
Police have met with different communities, including members of the Filipino community, regarding COVID-19. There are approximately 750,000 Filipinos across the UAE. Two of the confirmed COVID-19 cases are Filipinos.
The first confirmed COVID-19 cases, which involved a family of four from China, was announced in late January. A month later, the number has risen to 27. – Rappler.com