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A tourist wearing a surgical mask in Dubai. All coronovirus cases are monitored around the clock, said Dr Farida Al Hosani, Director of the Communicable Diseases Department at Abu Dhabi’s department of health Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: A senior health official has spoken out about the current situation of the coronavirus, and assured residents that all cases are being monitored around the clock, and handled with the utmost care with efficient measures in place.

In a televised interview on Saturday night, Dr Farida Al Hosani, Director of the Communicable Diseases Department at Abu Dhabi’s department of health, said that the UAE has confirmed 13 cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19), out of which three have been cured.

“Those who are infected are monitored continuously, while two patients remain in critical condition,” she said.

Dr. Farida Al Hosani

Earlier on Saturday, the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) confirmed that two more people have been diagnosed with coronavirus in the UAE.

The confirmed cases include a 70-year old Iranian visitor and his 64-year-old wife. The husband’s condition is said to be "unstable" and he is being closely monitored at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of a hospital.

The last two cases were announced a day after two patients were tested positive for COVID-19 in the UAE. The patients were a 34-year-old resident from Philippines and a 39-year old from Bangladesh. They were in direct contact with the Chinese patient recently diagnosed with coronavirus and are now in a stable health condition.

“The UAE’s efforts focus on active and proactive epidemiological investigations to detect cases. In the event of discovering a positive coronavirus case, epidemiological investigations are carried out to identify all the people who were in contact [with the patient] and isolate the positive cases to prevent the spread of the virus,” explained Dr Al Hosani.

She pointed out that due to the large global percentage of those infected with COVID-19, the most important measure authorities have to take is to isolate suspected cases, and then monitor their health status on a continuous basis.

According to the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), residents who display symptoms of a respiratory infection are advised:

  1. Not to travel while sick
  2. Wash hands regularly with soap and water
  3. Use an alcohol-based sanitizer if soap and water are not available
  4. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing
  5. Stay home and avoid contact with others
  6. Seek medical care right away and tell them about your recent travel history

“In the event that symptoms of the virus show up, the patient is treated with a number of antiviral drugs that are currently in trial to treat the new coronavirus,” said Dr Al Hosani.

“There is reassuring global data that the death rate from the virus is less than one per cent, which is very small compared to other viral infections, like the flu,” she said, while pointing out that the groups most vulnerable to the infection include the elderly or people with a weak immune system.