The UAE is testing a larger number of people, on a per capita basis, for Covid-19 than anywhere else in the world, new figures have shown. The statistics released Wednesday, March 18, through the state news agency, WAM, reveal that the Emirates is swab testing 13,020 individuals for every million people, more than double Bahrain, which is second on the list at 6,165 people per million.
South Korea (4,831 people per million), China’s Guangdong province (2,820 people per million) and Iceland (2,508 people per million) made the rest of the top five. At the lower end of the list is the United States, with just 42 people per million; South Africa (11 per million) and India (3 per million).
Although countries are reporting their figures using a variety of metrics, this latest compilation of figures about Covid-19 suggests that the UAE is not only aligned with global efforts to contain and diminish the pandemic, but is in fact leading the way. The newly released numbers should bring reassurance to many residents who have experienced a tumultuous week with some workplaces implementing working from home, salary reduction and job cuts.
The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) released information on Tuesday, March 17, that 127,000 individuals had been tested for coronavirus in the UAE. The latest count shows that the current number of Covid-19 cases in the UAE stands at 113, with 26 individuals having been discharged.
The Abu Dhabi Health Services Company PJSC–SEHA, which develops the curative activities of the public healthcare system in Abu Dhabi is also putting new services in place, has launched a WhatsApp service where residents can get quick responses to their questions about Covi-19. An official spokesperson for the company that owns and operates all the public hospitals and clinics in Abu Dhabi said:
“With the novel coronavirus situation rapidly evolving, it is important to have access to accurate and relevant information for your and your family’s wellbeing. Aligned with the government’s directive on managing the outbreak, SEHA has launched a WhatsApp hotline — +971563713090 — for responding to the UAE community’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) queries and point people in the right direction.
“Furthermore, as an organization, we have been working closely with MOHAP and DoH to facilitate the implementation of pro-active and preventive measures throughout the SEHA network. Additional training workshops, medical guidelines and closer collaboration are amongst the various initiatives established to effectively manage the outbreak, whilst delivering world-class healthcare throughout our network of hospitals. For more information on preventive measures, and the latest information on the situation visit the Abu Dhabi’s Department of Health portal or the Ministry of Health and Prevention’s site.
The UAE has also put a number of other services in place to help residents and tourists, with MOHAP launching a “virtual doctor” feature on its website that guides visitors through a series of questions to diagnose their risk of Covid-19.
Users are asked to click yes or no to questions about travel, contact with those who have been traveling, contact with those who have been diagnosed with Covid-19 and any symptoms. The online service either reports back that you are “low risk” or advises you to call 998 for next steps.
The virtual doctor service was put in place to help take the strain off the UAE’s busy medical services, but is not a substitute for anyone who needs urgent medical care. Those individuals should still report directly to A&E. The web service sits on MOHAP’s homepage as a pop-up, alongside an array of detailed information and advice on Covid-19.
The Abu Dhabi Department of Health have followed suit with information on its website, including tips and advice, national and global statistics and a real-time world map that tracks the spread of the virus.
Devinder Bains is journalist of 20 years, working as a writer and editor on some of the biggest national magazines, newspapers and online publications in the UK and the Middle East. She specialises in women’s empowerment, fashion, race, culture and travel, and as a qualified personal trainer and nutrition coach, she is an expert in health and fitness. She splits her time between freelance writing and running Fit Squad DXB – Dubai’s largest personal training and wellness company.