A flu shot. For illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Agency

Abu Dhabi: National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Committee [NCEMA] addressed the confusions surrounding the flu season and the COVID-19 outbreak in a briefing on Tuesday. The authority reminded residents that it is possible to be infected by both viruses as they are in circulation simultaenously.

The only way to distinguish symptoms would be a lab test the authority said, posting on Twitter: "The two viruses cause the same symptoms such as high temperatures, body pain, fatigue and coughing, and the best approach to differentiate between them is only through laboratory testing."

NCEMA reiterated that the flu vaccine offered no protection from COVID-19 infection but it could help avoid the flu as it builds up immunity and resistance to the flu in the weeks following the jab. They also said that the COVID-19 vaccine was still in trial stage and volunteers were still required to take precautions and maintain their health to protect themselves from the virus.

NCEMA also announced that the UAE conducted over 10 million tests since the beginning of the pandemic. UAE is now the first country in the world to in the number of tests per capita conducted for countries with a population exceeding one million.

Some categories of residents are at high risk of complications from the flu and should get the flu shot. NCEMA tweeted, "The importance of taking the flu vaccine by groups that may suffer complications due to the flu includes: health workers, children under 5 years of age, smokers, pregnant women, the elderly, and those with chronic diseases."