A child undergoes a PCR test at an Abu Dhabi school, following the launch of in-school testing for COVID-19 on September 7. Image Credit: Courtesy: ADEK

Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi has once again topped the list of the world’s leading cities for their response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to London-based analytics consortium Deep Knowledge Group (DKG).

In DKG’s report — ‘Ranking of the Safest Cities during the COVID-19 Pandemic for the Second Quarter of 2021’ — Abu Dhabi once again topped the list of 72 cities and municipalities around the world.

Efficiency and resilience

The ranking was based on 114 parameters, covering key aspects of the COVID-19 response. It focussed on five main categories, including government efficiency, economic resilience, efficiency of the quarantine system, health-care management and vaccination rates. In addition, 50 cities with the highest ranks among them were selected and analysed to identify the best practices and the challenges they encounter.

The first version of the report was published in April 2021 and also ranked Abu Dhabi as the safest city in the world during the pandemic.

Wise leadership

The Abu Dhabi Media Office said in a statement that the achievement was the result of the wise guidance and continuous support of the Abu Dhabi leadership, which is continuing to follow the footsteps of the late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in making the UAE a safe and prosperous country to live in.

“The ranking was also made possible through the efforts of senior management and staff in various public and private institutions, along with the dedication of field teams and healthcare professionals. Abu Dhabi topped the ranking due to measures that contributed to enhancing the speed and effectiveness of its response to the pandemic. As a result of these measures, the health and safety of the community was protected, while maintaining an open and competitive economy. Abu Dhabi also maintained its position as a pioneer in scientific research, digital initiatives and technology and a leading destination for medical tourism,” it added.

Ranking parameters

DKG ranked cities identified as having the most effective response to the pandemic. The cities were assessed on: Health-care management (efficient infrastructure, human competencies and efficient medical personnel, advanced tools, effectiveness of diagnostic systems, number of beds in health-care facilities and spending on the health-care sector); efficient health quarantine systems (home quarantine scope and duration, economic support to quarantined people, travel guidelines and restrictions, legal action against home quarantine violators); vaccination rates (availability of the vaccine, vaccination rates per capita and home-vaccination services); government efficiency (monitoring systems, crisis management, trust in government and digital services); and resilience of the economy (incentive packages, exemptions, social support and credit rating). Abu Dhabi was followed by Singapore, Seoul, Tel Aviv and Dubai.

Robust response

Abu Dhabi’s robust response to the pandemic ensured that the emirate maintained a low rate of positive cases, and one of the lowest mortality rates per capita in the world, while adapting and scaling up healthcare provision to protect every member of society. Within weeks, field hospitals, mass testing centres and screening facilities, including drive-through facilities, were established. New initiatives prioritised vulnerable groups, including providing free testing and health checks, distributing millions of free meals, providing health awareness programmes in multiple languages and mental health support.

Abu Dhabi also led research and development, facilitated scientific discoveries to tackle the virus and collaborated in global efforts to find a vaccine, including participating in the world’s first Phase III trials of an inactivated viral vaccine.

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The emirate has played a key role in the UAE’s vaccination campaign, leading to more than 88 per cent of the UAE’s population having already received a free vaccine.

It is now working to develop and maintain the effectiveness of its strategies in dealing with the pandemic, and to share its inspiring experience globally to help in eliminating the effects of the COVID-19 virus in various parts of the world, the Abu Dhabi Media Office said.