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Dr Nada Al Marzouqi (right) and Dr Amna Al Dahak (left) at a Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) press conference on Saturday in Abu Dhabi Image Credit: Samihah Zaman, Staff Reporter

Abu Dhabi: Out of 45 patients detected with Covid-19 in the UAE, only two are in intensive care, senior officials announced at a Covid-19 situational press briefing in the capital on Saturday.

“Seven of the patients have recovered completely. The remaining patients are all stable, and receiving all necessary medical care,” said Dr Nada Al Marzouqi, head of infection prevention and control at the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP).

This means that there are now 36 Covid-19 patients in the country under medical care, and in stable health.

The Ministry, in cooperation with the National Crisis and Emergency Management Authority, is also awaiting test results for 318 people on the UAE Tour cycling event.

“We have tested 36 hotel guests, 56 cyclists and team members, and 236 hotel staff, and are awaiting results on these. In the meantime, as soon as the initial two cases were diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, we proceeded to quarantine the patients and those in contact with them,” Dr Al Marzouqi added.

The official added that all cases detected in the UAE have so far been traced to known sources. The vast majority of infected people were returning from travel abroad, or had come into contact with people who had travelled to countries with Covid-19.

Among the 45 patients are two school students, and precautionary measures have been taken to screen those around them, said Dr Amna Al Dahak, assistance undersecretary for activities and director of innovation and entrepreneurship at the UAE Ministry of Education (MoE).

The officials however stressed that the UAE is well-equipped to deal with any potential outbreak.

“But all these measures that have been implemented so far have been to prevent an outbreak, not because an outbreak has occurred,” Dr Al Marzouqi said.

These include a temporary suspension of nursery services, screening and quarantine provisions at points of entry, an early spring break for students and two weeks of remote learning following the break. The preparedness of all healthcare facilities has also been enhanced, which are now all equipped to test for the novel coronavirus, the official added.

The virus has now infected more than 100,000 people worldwide, and killed more than 3,000.

Dr Al Marzouqi added that the Ministry is in contact with Emiratis abroad, especially those living in countries with a rising number of Covid-19 cases.

“We are in contact with authorities in these countries can repatriate citizens if the need arises. We also have 700 experts, including health experts, who can work around the clock to set up emergency measures,” she said.

The official added that residents should avoid travel if possible, especially to areas with a rising number of Covid-19 cases.

“At the same time, planes are being sterilised to prevent infection risk,” the official added.

In terms of measures at educational institutions, the MoE has facilitated the training of 667 nurses to deal with coronavirus symptoms, should they arise, Dr Al Dahak said. More than 4,950 bus drivers and 8,171 attendants have also been trained to deal with emergencies, as have 508 school leaders.

The officials stressed that the use of face masks is only recommended for people who are unwell.

“The main measures we recommend at this stage is frequent handwashing with soap and water, and to avoid large gatherings and crowds, as well as people with respiratory symptoms,” Al Marzouqi said.

Dr Al Dahak also called on parents to facilitate remote learning for their children.

“In case school students or employees return from countries with Covid-19 cases, we insist they remain home as a precautionary measure, and get tested for the virus before returning to school,” she added.