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A nurse in protective gear talks on her phone near an ambulance in Wuhan in central China's Hubei Province. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: On Wednesday, UAE announced the first confirmed case of coronavirus. The authorities said that it was a family from Wuhan that was found to be affected by the virus, and they were stable and under medical monitoring.

Doctors in Dubai told Gulf News that they are well equipped to handle any emergency, following the news. They added that the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) had equipped doctors and hospital staff in the UAE to take care of any patients with the coronavirus. The coronavirus originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan and has so far claimed 132 lives and infected nearly 6,000 people across the globe.

The doctors advised UAE residents to take necessary precautions, given that it is also flu season in the country.

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“We have received a lot of information from DHA – links about the disease. The team in our hospital is well prepared to take care of patients with flu and virus,” Khan added. 

Protocol, preparation, tests

Dr. Jyoti Upadhyay, Specialist, Internal Medicine, Aster Hospital, Mankhool said doctors and hospitals in the UAE have been advised to follow a protocol when a patient comes to their hospital presenting symptoms of a flu or the virus.

Upadhyay said, “We take down the travel history of the person first – like if he has travelled to a country where the coronavirus was diagnosed. Then we ask the patient if she or he was exposed to someone with a flu or a virus. Once that is clear, we have a kit provided by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA).

"The kit consists of a throat and nose swab. So we take these two from the patient and send the sample to Rashid Hospital for further testing for coronavirus.”

Dr Saima Khan, General Practitioner, Medcare Hospital Al Safa said the entire hospital staff was on alert and well-equipped to handle any emergency.

She said, “Following the coronavirus outbreak in China, the hospital staff have been soaking in on all the knowledge about the deadly virus. We have constant reviews and meetings on equipping [ourselves with] knowledge about the disease. We are also being trained on how to handle a patient who presents symptoms of a flu or the virus.”

Flu season and precautions

Dr Sanjay Paithankar, Managing Director at Right Health in UAE said, “Try to stay away from someone who has the flu. Don't ignore your health, head to a doctor if you have been suffering from flu symptoms.”

Dr Paithankar added that residents should stay indoors and at home if they are down with the flu.

He said, “Don’t spread it. Just visit your doctor and take the prescribed medication. Avoid crowded places when you are down with a flu. It is important that you do not pass the flu to others. Handwashing is critical. If you are in a public place, use a hand sanitizer or keep washing your hands with a soap. It has to become a regular thing.”