Dubai: A top official of the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) today called upon residents to exercise utmost social responsibility and strictly abide by all precautionary measures in addition to taking the COVID-19 vaccine.
In an exclusive interview with Gulf News, Dr Hind Al Awadhi, head of health promotion and education at DHA, said: “People think the vaccine will fix everything. It will, but with time – after we have vaccinated the largest population possible. Till then, it is essential that everyone still maintains physical distance, wears a mask, washes their hands and follows all precautionary measures.”
"Each person has the social responsibility to protect himself or herself and the community by following necessary precautionary measures."
Dr Hind said people are weary of COVID-19, which first surfaced in the UAE on January 29, 2020. “It’s been a year now and everyone is tired of COVID-19. But that does not mean we can let our guard down, because the global pandemic is still going on and we have to continue to be in a state of preparedness.”
She said, “We have started offering the vaccine to everyone, but that does not mean they can ignore the precautionary measures.”
COVID-19 safety measures: Dos and Don'ts in Dubai
The official said there is no excuse for not following the precautionary measures. She said there are some common lapses that people commit.
Use of masks
Dr Hind said, “Not wearing masks correctly tops the list. Not everyone is wearing masks as they should. Often, the masks are not in the right place.”
Dr Hind said another common habit that has not changed with the need of the hour is the manner in which people are greeting each other. “I still notice people hugging and kissing when they meet. These sort of greetings must be avoided.”
Home quarantine rules
The third mistake that some people are committing, Dr Hind said, is violating home quarantine protocols in spite of a suspicion of COVID-19 after coming in touch with a contact. “The rules are well-defined, one only needs to follow them,” she advised.
Unwell - to stay home or not?
“If you are not feeling well, you must stay home,” she said, adding that those with COVID-19 symptoms must also get themselves tested.
Despite awareness campaigns that stress on the need to keep one’s hands clean, Dr Hind said many people are still to get into the habit of regularly washing their hands.
Failure to keep the required physical distance between two or more people is another common violation that people make, Dr Hind said. “Social gatherings cannot have more than 10 people now, so think twice before you host or attend one.”
Effective protection, social responsibility
The official said, “We cannot for a moment forget that we are still trying to overcome the global pandemic. Following precautionary measures is very effective in protecting ourselves and others from contracting COVID-19, especially at workplaces and gatherings. There is evidence to prove this.”
At the end of the day, she said, “Each one has the social responsibility to protect himself or herself and the community by following necessary precautionary measures.”