A hairdresser checks a colleague's temperature as they resume work at a salon in Dubai Marina. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Another 624 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in the UAE, the Ministry of Health and Prevention announced on Saturday, the highest number recorded in 24-hour period in the country. This brings the total number of cases in the country to 17,417.

Eleven deaths were also announced, bringing the number of fatalities to 185.

According to the ministry, the deceased, from various nationalities, suffered from pre-existing chronic illnesses when they contracted COVID-19, which resulted in complications that led to their death.

The ministry also announced the full recovery of 458 new cases after receiving the necessary treatment on Saturday It is the highest number of recoveries reported in the county so far in a single day.

Speaking during the regular media briefing, Dr. Amna Al Shamsi, UAE Government spokesperson, said the latest coronavirus patients, all of whom are in a stable condition and receiving the necessary care, were identified after conducting more than 33,153 additional COVID-19 tests among UAE citizens and residents over the past few days.

UAE announces 11 deaths, 624 new coronavirus cases
Image Credit: Gulf News

Cuttently, UAE has 12,937 active cases.

Al Shamsi added that the number of those who have recovered from the coronavirus in the country stands at 4,295, or 25 per cent of  those infected.

Also speaking during the briefing was Prof. Alawi Al Sheikh-Ali, the UAE Advanced Sciences sector’s spokesperson.

Al Sheikh Ali said: “In January 2020, researchers in China published the first sequencing of the novel coronavirus from a patient from Wuhan. The sequenced strain is considered the original strain of the virus and this sequencing is considered the reference sequence of the virus."

He added that based on a study that was published two weeks ago, three strains of the novel coronavirus have been identified. The main strain is strain A; the two other strains have been dubbed B and C.

He added that after less than 3 weeks of announcing the genetic sequencing of the virus in the UAE, "we have findings for 49 COVID-19 patients, as well as the complete genetic sequencing for the 25 of the early cases in the UAE." The study has found that, based on those 25 cases, there are two strains in the UAE; 24 patients were found to have strain B, related to travelling to Europe. There was only one case of strain A of and that was found in a visitor from China.

Al Sheikh Ali highlighted that 88 per cent of the cases in the early days did not have any symptoms or only had mild ones. The findings also indicate that there are 70 mutations in the UAE of the existing strains, 17 of which have not been identified internationally by efforts to sequence the virus.

“This is an achievement for the UAE, in which our country is contributing to the global science community’s efforts in understanding COVID-19 through providing this information to an international research database for scientists and researchers,” he said.