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FNC to debate 2014-15 closing accounts bills

Member questions quarantine of infectious disease patients

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Members of the Federal National Council are due to debate Tuesday the 2014 and 2015 end-of-year closing account bills.

In October, UAE Cabinet approved a Dh248 billion federal budget for the next five years, with a prime focus on education, social development and health, as the country bucks the regional purse-tightening trend.

The budget for next year was set at Dh48.7bn, a slight increase from this year’s Dh48.57 billion, which also focused on social development, education and health.

The largest portion of the 2017 budget, around Dh25.2 billion, is dedicated to sectors affecting the lives of citizens.

About 20.5 per cent of the 2017 budget, or Dh10.2 billion, has been earmarked for the education sector, 8.6 per cent or Dh4.2 billion for the healthcare sector, 8.2 per cent or Dh4 billion for public sector wages, 6.6 per cent or Dh3.2 billion for social development and 3.3 per cent or Dh1.6 billion for housing.

Six questions will also be put to concerned ministers.

Khalid Ali Bin Zayed, a member from Dubai, questions quarantine of infectious disease patients.

“Despite my question eight years ago about the same issue, patients tested positive for infectious disease are still handed over to their sponsors, rather than quarantined, a matter that poses a great danger to the public health,” Bin Zayed told Gulf News on Monday.

Bin Zayed added the quarantine system in the UAE needed to be more effective to prevent many infectious diseases from spreading.

The Infectious Disease Law issued by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan in November 2014 authorised the Ministry of Health and Prevention to introduce tough quarantine regulations.

The legislation gave authorities the power to isolate schools, sports clubs, cinema theatres and other places of entertainment as well as any other locations where there was a danger of infectious diseases spreading to large numbers of people.

The law, which also entitled authorities to introduce tough quarantine regulations, states that a person who knowingly exposes another to a communicable disease can face up to five years in prison, a fine of up to Dh100,000 or both for failing to comply with control measures.

Under the law, a communicable disease is defined as an illness that occurs through transmission of an infectious agent or its toxic products from a reservoir to a susceptible host, either directly or indirectly.

The law requires reporting within 24 hours to the health authorities by physicians, medical technicians and chemists after their first professional encounter with persons known or suspected to be infected with certain diseases, including anthrax, cholera, avian influenza, HIV/Aids, hepatitis (A,E) and tuberculosis (pulmonary and extra-pulmonary), among others.

Leprosy, malaria, measles, meningitis, plague and smallpox would also be among a list of nearly 30 contagious diseases that have to be reported within 24 hours.

Hamad Al Rahoumi, a member from Dubai, will put a question to Noora Al Kaabi, Minister of State for FNC Affairs, concerning annoying spam phone calls made by the providers of telecom services in the country to promote their services.

UAE telecoms regulator had in 2009 introduced a policy against mobile spam, mandating UAE telecom companies to provide a way for customers to request blocking of spam.