dubai airport
Image Credit: File photo

Dubai: Dubai Health Authority is conducting regular screening of all passengers coming into the city through all its terminals as discreetly as possible in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak. Dr Manal Al Taryam, Chief Executive Officer of the Primary Health Care sector at DHA said on Thursday.

In an interview at the DHA headquarters she clarified that all those coming into the emirate were being screened by discreet, non contact thermal cameras.

Dubai travel advisory

“We are very sensitive and careful not to incovenience passengers and also make sure that the entire process does not take more than 45 minutes. The non-contact thermal cameras are placed at strategic locations in the hall and everyone entering Dubai is screened. For those passengers coming from the ‘affected’ countries as per the WHO list, a nasal swab test is done if the cameras find them running a temperature. The results take about six hours and we ask people coming from these countries to keep themselves in self-imposed isolation until results are out. We keep in touch with the travellers through public health centres and the DHA toll free number to provide them the results. We follow the international protocol and if found positive, we take these people for further lab investigations,” explained Dr Taryam.

Children not qurantined alone

She said children travelling with parents who have to undergo nasal swabs are not isolated alone. “The protocol for adults and children is the same, but we do not isolate children by themselves and allow them to be with their parents until results are out. In case of those testing positive, the UAE has designated quarantine wards at hospitals where they keep patients for recovery.”

As per the directives issued by the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) which is running a centralised screening operation in wake of Covid 19, Dr Taryam reiterated that people from Dubai are being asked to put “off unneccessary travel to “designated countries”.

“The list of countries is not constant and is changing as per the number of cases being reported everyday. That is why it is advisable if people do not travel unless entirely necessary. If they do and once they return from these coutnries it is important they keep themselves in a 14-day home isolation in case they feel unwell as the virus has a 14-day gestation period,” she advised.

She clarified that people coming from places that were not on the WHO list of Covid 19 countries were not being indiscriminately placed in 14-day quarantine.

“As of now that is the situation, but the list is ever changing and we are following the WHO directives.”

Dr Taryam advised all Dubai residents visiting public places, especially airports, to practise basic hand hygiene.

“Wash your hands as frequently as possible, use hand sanitisers, do not touch external surfaces and avoid touching your face as far as possible,” added Dr Taryam.

Coronavirus outbreak