NAT_200608 909 Hotline12-1591621578932
The new call centre in Abu Dhabi Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi has launched a new dedicated hotline to handle cases of coronavirus at worker accommodations.

The 909 hotline, which is operated by the Abu Dhabi Police from its operations centre in Musaffah - the capital’s industrial hub – will cater to reports and enquiries about coronavirus infections from worker accommodations, and therefore support efforts to limit the outbreak.

In an announcement on social media, First Colonel Fadel Al Shamsi, director of Musaffah Police Station, declared the centre open today.

“The Operations Centre in Musaffah has been opened to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. It operates 24/7 to answer and respond to all incoming phone calls from individual callers, companies and worker accommodations. The centre is also staffed with interpreters who can respond to Asian callers,” Al Shamsi said.

Once the Police receive reports of an infection, they deploy medical teams to conduct a cursory assessment at the location.

“We first do an on-site assessment to determine if the case is critical or not,” explained First Lieutenant Abdullah Mohammad Saleh, liaison officer of quarantine event operating room.

“If critical, [the patient] is referred directly to the hospital, otherwise they are taken to quarantine centres,” he added.

Musaffah screenings

In order to limit the outbreak at Musaffah, one of the capital’s most densely populated areas due its multiple worker accommodations, authorities in Abu Dhabi have already launched a mass screening programme on May 30. The initiative aimed to test more than 335,000 people living and working in the area for COVID-19, and is being carried out in phases focusing on one or two sectors at a time.

At present, the sixth phase of the screening project, which covers sector M37, is ongoing.

“The first five phases of the sanitisation and testing campaign in the Musaffah area have successfully achieved their objectives amid residents’ welcome and praise of the procedures,” the Abu Dhabi Media Office announced last weekend.

Screenings in high-density areas

Workers living in areas outside Musaffah, including in shared units in downtown Abu Dhabi, are also being tested en masse since last week as part of an extension of the screening programme. The Al Mena Centre is therefore seeing more than 2,000 people a day, with an average testing time of 20 minutes.

Residents also reported that they received their COVID-19 test results within 48 hours.

To enable the success of mass testing efforts, Abu Dhabi currently has movement restrictions in place, which ban travel between the emirate’s various regions, and in and out of it.