Business | Tourism

MERS-CoV risk: More transparency needed

UAE has always been leading the country in taking precautionary measures to counter this kind of virus

  • BY Cleofe Maceda, Senior Reporter
  • Published: 16:34 July 21, 2013
  • Gulf News

The UAE needs to stay vigilant and exercise more transparency about the extent of the country’s risk to the MERS-CoV virus to avoid the situation from reaching epidemic levels, industry sources told Gulf News.

Sources said it is important to take some precautionary measures, considering the UAE’s proximity to Saudi Arabia, where the most number of cases have been reported.

“Dubai, in particular, is a major transit point for international travellers, so we should be more vigilant,” said one doctor at a clinic in Karama.

“There should be leaflets distributed to the public by now to educate the residents about the virus and how to avoid getting infected, for prevention purposes,” she added.

Dr Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, global economic adviser for MasterCard, said countries affected by any health epidemic should coordinate with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and exercise transparency.

“To me, the basic important procedures for any city are number one, transparency, and number two, work with WHO. Work with all the leading centres in the world in terms of disease prevention and control,” Wong said in an earlier interview with Gulf News.

“Uncertainty is always worse than the reality, because that tends to make people’s imagination go crazy. That’s why transparency and being factual are always the best remedy under those conditions,” he added.

The tourism sector, however, is confident that the UAE has always been at the forefront in disease prevention and control.

“The UAE has always been leading the country in taking precautionary measures to counter this kind of virus. It was the case a couple of years back when SARS and bovine disease invaded the Far East and other parts of the world,” said Wael Al Behi of Ramada Downtown Dubai.

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