A health worker takes a body temperature reading in Dubai. AFP
The UAE government announced that 170 people had recovered from COVID-19 after receiving the necessary care, bringing the total number of recoveries to 588. Following additional testing of over 20,000 people in the past few days, 376 individuals were confirmed positive, bringing the total number of cases to 3,736.
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In a media briefing held on Saturday in Abu Dhabi, Dr Farida Al Hosani, official spokesperson of the UAE health sector, provided updates on the COVID-19 crisis in the country. All those recently testing positive are in a stable condition and receiving the necessary health care, she added.
A combo image shows volunteer members of the medical team in Dubai. AFPDr Al Hosani explained that the new tests had come in the wake of the country's announcement to intensify testing among UAE citizens and residents in order to contain the spread of the virus.
During the briefing, Dr Al Hosani also announced the death of four individuals of different nationalities as a result of COVID-19 in conjunction with preexisting chronic diseases, taking the total number of deaths to 20.
She expressed her sincere condolences to the families of the deceased and wished a speedy recovery for those infected. She also called upon members of the community to cooperate with health authorities in adhering to official guidance and practice social distancing to ensure the health and safety of all.
Dr Al Hosani explained, "In the past few days, we have noticed a remarkable rise in the number of people who have fully recovered. Many of these were mild cases, which usually recover naturally. In some cases, symptoms lasted for two or three weeks. We have observed that a majority of cases registered in the country do not show major complications and severe symptoms."
She added, "Some preliminary studies have shown the effectiveness of drugs such as chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 treatment. These are drugs used in the country, and their effectiveness, as well as that of other antiviral drugs, is being continuously monitored."
Dr Al Hosani emphasised that "the efforts of our teams in the health authorities are continuing as part of the country's plan to bring the pandemic under control. An increase in testing in recent weeks has enabled us to detect more cases, limit the spread of the virus, and isolate those who came in contact with patients."
"Today, we have 13 new drive-through COVID-19 testing centres nationwide, as well as various health centres that receive individuals for examination and testing. We call upon individuals suffering from a high temperature or with respiratory symptoms, such as cold and cough, to approach the nearest medical centre for examination and follow preventative measures, such as wearing face masks and social distancing with others in medical centres," she noted.
Dr Al Hosani stressed the importance of the public abiding by health regulations that complement precautionary and preventive measures adopted nationwide.
She added, "We will achieve success with our commitment to social distancing, the continuation of the National Disinfection Programme, and adherence to healthy behaviours in homes, as well as not leaving home except for necessity or essential work."
While explaining the period of time during which people are expected to remain at home, Dr Al Hosani said that it is not possible to predict a specific date when normal movement may resume. The situation is being evaluated regularly, she remarked.
Dr Al Hosani also explained that the bodies of the deceased are being handled in a respectful way, including through ritual bathing prior to burial in accordance with the Islamic Shariah.
She also advised families of the deceased that burial and prayer events should be attended by a limited number of family members, while offering and accepting condolences should be avoided and instead be performed by phone to discourage gatherings and keep everyone safe.
Dr Al Hosani said that the UAE has started clinical trials of plasma therapy for COVID-19 treatment along with a number of other treatments. Their effectiveness is being researched, and the UAE is keen to further look into studies and treatments around the world and will not delay in providing any available treatment to UAE citizens and residents.
The ministry also announced that the total number of recovered cases of COVID-19 has reached 680 with 92 cases fully recovered.
The Ministry announced the death of 6 people of different nationalities who were infected with the virus, and as a result of complications associated with other diseases.
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