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Abu Dhabi: Patients from Abu Dhabi emirate will not be sent abroad for treatment, following a decision by healthcare regulator, the Abu Dhabi Department of Health (DoH), to temporarily suspend international patient care services.

The announcement was made today as international fears grow about the spread of Covid-19.

In a statement, the DoH said its decision is part of efforts “to prioritise patients’ health and safety while ensuring that all precautionary measures are being taken in light of the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak to limit the risk of contagion”.

The Department added that it will cooperate will all concerned health facilities in the country to ensure that all patients previously scheduled for international patient care have access “comprehensive, continuous and timely healthcare services” until they can go abroad for medical care.

“As soon as the World Health Organisation declared the new coronavirus (COVID-19) a global health emergency, we deemed it crucial to take immediate action and implement rigorous measures to control the spread of the virus. Taking protective measures are essential to ensure the health and safety of our society,” said Hind Al Zaabi, Acting Director of International Patient Care Division at DoH.

The DoH refers Emirati patients abroad for treatment if care is not advanced or available in the UAE.